As the gym doors open, the sound of bouncing basketballs, shoes thumping and squeaking on the hardwood and loud voices and screams from players, coaches and fans fill the air. It’s hoops time again and our local schools are right in the middle of the action.
Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in the Kirkland area:
The boys and girls squads were both off to 2-0 records in 3A KingCo at press time as they headed back into action this week.
Head coach Jeff Wilson’s girls team possesses a deep roster and the players spent the offseason working hard to improve their game.
“We had a successful month of June and think we can continue that success into this season. For us to be successful, we must play together, play fast and rebound,” he said.
Top returners are sophomores Sophia Liesse and Ellie Pederson, both 5-foot-10 guards, and on the newcomer front, there’s junior Jen Estes (a 5-foot-8 guard) and freshmen Elise Hani (a 6-foot-3 forward) and Rosa Smith (a 5-foot-7 guard).
“We are all about high effort and positive energy. Makes and misses will come, but we can always control our effort and how we support each other,” said Wilson, whose squad was 2-2 overall at press time.
For the Kang boys, excitement reigns supreme for the close-knit team — 3-1 overall at press time — which head coach Ryan Staudacher said has solid chemistry on and off the court.
“They really compete and play the game the right way,” the coach said.
Leading the way are top returners Nick Strausburg (senior 6-3 guard), Evan Liggett (junior 6-2 guard), D’Von Fisher (sophomore 5-6 guard) and Torin Montgomery (senior 6-4 forward), to go along with top newcomers Derek Giovacchini and Jared Keeley (both senior 6-2 guards).
Staudacher wants his players to garner a great overall experience this season, learning about basketball and beyond.
“We put a lot of emphasis on being great teammates with one another, and learning how to compete every day they are on the floor,” he said.
Rebel boys head coach Justin Mezistrano aims for his shooting team to improve each game. Juanita was 0-2 in league at press time and 2-3 overall.
Seniors Nathan Robertson (6-foot guard), Ryan Trautmann (6-foot guard) and Cameron Knowles (6-4 guard/forward) and junior Cooper Mcleod (6-1 guard) are the Rebels’ top returners.
“We’re not very big this year, so we gotta rely on our shooting and play hard and rebounding,” the coach said. “We’re just trying to get locked in mentally.”
On the girls’ side, head coach Todd Brink said his team’s goal is to compete for a 3A KingCo championship.
Brink’s coaching philosophy focuses on playing up-tempo, defensive-minded and team-first basketball.
Juanita will look to senior top returners Lexi Intong (6-1 post), Jordan Schroeder (5-7 point guard) and Kirsten Casper (5-11 forward) to lead the way, and getting into the mix will be top newcomers Kayla Huff (sophomore 5-3 point guard), Emma Lanquein (sophomore 5-5 shooting guard) and Madison Kisker (sophomore 5-10 wing).