Lake Washington High’s captains, from left, Sidney Olson, Lindsay Allan and Molly Behrends. Andy Nystrom, Kirkland Reporter

Lake Washington High’s captains, from left, Sidney Olson, Lindsay Allan and Molly Behrends. Andy Nystrom, Kirkland Reporter

Lake Washington girls are playing with tenacity, passion and heart

First-year coach Jeff Wilson wants the Lake Washington High girls basketball players to be pumped up every time they step into the gym.

He’s pushing the girls to play hard and said the Kangs have arrived at each practice and game ready to be competitive.

“It’s just a matter of creating a general excitement about what we’re doing,” said the former Edmonds Woodway High junior varsity coach.

At press time, the girls were winless in five contests, but Wilson said they’ve played some tough teams and never gave up fighting. They are supporting each other and are moving in the right direction, he added.

Top performers are senior tri-captains and third-year varsity players Lindsay Allan, a 5-foot-10 forward; and 5-foot-6 guards Molly Behrends and Sidney Olson. On the newcomer front, 5-10 freshman guard Sophia Liesse has been a consistent and solid Kang from the outset.

Olson, who confidently moved the ball up court against Inglemoor on Monday, said she’s learned tons about leadership during her time in an LW uniform. She added that the girls have searched within themselves to become a tight-knit group with tenacity, passion and heart.

“I think just based on how our practices are going and how our past games have been going, that definitely the culture and staying positive and staying together” is on their side, she said.

Behrends noted that the team’s energy has been at a premium and all the players have been contributing.

“I think that moving forward, definitely we need to stay positive. All the hard work in practice, I think it will start to show,” she said.

An important facet of the team is that all the Kangs stand together as equals on and off the court.

“Even the small things, too, like carrying water bottles on the bus, carrying our ball bag. It used to be like, ‘freshmen, go get that’ … we’re gonna do it together and the seniors can carry it,” she said of the equipment.

Perhaps the most energetic Kang is Allan, and Wilson said the other players feed off her demeanor. She’s also a solid rebounder and leader, the coach added.

“I’ve seen a lot of different teams because I play different sports. All of us have seen four years of basketball, and I really like to try and be the leader that everybody can rely on,” Allan said. “Besides that, me being talkative helps me connect with the other girls. So I like to try and reach out to freshmen and sophomores and bring the underclassmen in.”

Allan laughed with her fellow captains when she said they used to be terrified of the seniors when they were freshmen. Echoing Behrends’ statement, Allan said the advantage of having a smaller team is that there’s less of an imbalance.

“There’s not like big groups or anything that are being cliquey,” Allan said. “Everybody is on the same playing field — we’re all just one team.”

The Kangs’ Ellie Pederson, back, defends Inglemoor’s Lucy Young in Monday’s game. Andy Nystrom, Kirkland Reporter

The Kangs’ Ellie Pederson, back, defends Inglemoor’s Lucy Young in Monday’s game. Andy Nystrom, Kirkland Reporter

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