The once-crisp nets are being bombarded with basketballs. Sneakers are squeaking up and down the court. Sturdy hands are bouncing balls along the way and firing passes to teammates and grabbing rebounds.
Our local teams are raring to go and here’s what they have to offer for fans in the Bothell and Kenmore areas this season.
Inglemoor finished in the top 12 at the 4A state tournament last year after notching a stellar run by finishing second in district and winning its regional game against Bothell to qualify for state.
Coach Greg Lowell earned 4A KingCo coach of the year honors and his squad finished 8-6 in league and 13-12 overall.
The Vikings lost six of their top eight players from last season and Lowell said, “It is one of our youngest teams at Inglemoor that I have had. So improvement as the year goes will be huge.”
Top returners are 6-foot-6 senior forward Michael Hagen, 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Zach Shimek, 6-foot-5 junior forward Blaine McGoorty and 6-foot-3 junior guard Peyton Reed.
Inglemoor — which went 5-9 in 4A KingCo play and lost in the first round of the conference tournament last year — returns all-league honorable mention Jenna Troy, a 5-10 junior guard/forward, and also features senior captains Shaylen Haller, a 5-8 forward, and Malia Gunsolus, a 5-9 post.
The Vikings (8-12 overall) rallied to defeat Newport, 44-42, in the final seconds to nab the fifth seed into the KingCo tournament.
On the team’s website, coach Kristina Schumacher notes:
“My goal is to run a model program for young women that not only teaches them basketball, but prepares them for life after high school. Our aim will be to maintain a consistently competitive program whose culture the players, families and school are proud to be associated with.”
The Cougars are coming off league and district championships and return two 4A all-KingCo first-teamers in Jake Medjo and Cameron Tyson.
Medjo, a 6-9 senior forward, and Tyson, a 6-3 senior guard, helped lead the Cougars to records of 10-4 in league and 17-6 overall last year.
Coach Ron Bollinger said Bothell’s strengths will be its quickness since Medjo is the team’s sole big man. If the Cougars’ young and inexperienced players develop, they should battle for the league title again, he added.
“We are not a deep team this year. My guys are working really hard to improve each day by focusing on every step we take, making sure it is going forward and not backwards,” Bollinger said.
Other important players are seniors Da’Vicious Wilson, Vikram Gill and Jordan Potts, along with juniors Spencer Wright and Austin Cartwright.
The 4A KingCo league champs return four solid seniors in Emily Gibson, Emily Heffernan, Parker Cordova-Smith and Dakota Laut.
Bothell finished 14-0 in league and 19-4 overall last season. The Cougars notched a win over Skyline to begin the postseason, but fell to Woodinville and Eastlake to end its season.
Coach Erin Berger said that Gibson, a 5-9 point guard, is a leader on and off the floor. Heffernan is a 5-10 forward, Laut is a 5-10 guard/forward and Cordova-Smith is a 5-8 guard.
Berger said the group of young Cougars will learn on the fly and gain valuable experience this season.
“With high energy and a strong work ethic, expect our girls to fly around the gym looking to make things difficult for opposing teams, crashing to the hoop for key buckets, and displaying the teamwork and camaraderie that will make you proud to be a fan of Bothell High School,” the coach said.
CEDAR PARK CHRISTIAN
Senior George Reidy will be the guy the Eagles will rely on this season. The 6-5 point guard averaged 15 points a game last year and earned first-team all-1A/2A Cascade Conference honors.
Last year, coach Adam Lynch’s team finished 6-6 in conference and 12-11 overall and noted that his team’s highlights were beating Archbishop Murphy on the road and defeating Meridian in the district playoffs.
Lynch said the Eagles face a unique challenge this season by featuring just one returning starter in Reidy, and the rest of the squad is inexperienced and relatively young. Reidy will be there to provide leadership on and off the court.
“We have great potential and believe we will improve greatly over the course of the season. Our program goals remain the same from year to year: Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together, For Him!” Lynch said.
Last year, freshman Irena Korolenko led the Eagles in scoring and rebounding and will be in the spotlight again this season. The 5-10 wing notched second-team all-conference honors with an average of about 14 points and eight rebounds per game.
Junior Sela Flynn is another top returner who can grab rebounds and score from the outside.
Coach Todd Lundberg’s squad — which finished 5-7 in conference and 10-12 overall last year — features one senior, one junior, four sophomores and three freshmen on the varsity roster.
“Our keys will include staying healthy with a small roster and having young players play ‘older than they are,’” the coach said.
Coach Wayde Knowles leads his first-year Jaguars into the 4A KingCo Conference this season. Knowles said his players are young, energetic, coachable and excited to have a hand in building the new program.
The team sports no seniors and the lone player with varsity experience is Andrew Mazzawi, a 6-5 junior wing/post who can play inside and outside, said Knowles, adding that there are five freshmen dotting the varsity roster, led by 6-0 guard Ethan Boyd and 6-4 post Garrison Kepley.
“Our outlook is to play hard and get better every day. We are young and undersized, so we will have to make up for that with effort and teamwork. Keys to success will be based on how well we defend and how mentally tough we are,” the coach said.
Coach Calvin McHenry said his first-year squad is building an identity and foundation for success.
Four juniors leading the way will be 5-5 guard Lexi Ducheane, 5-3 guard Ellysa Butterfield, 6-0 forward Caitlin Monten and 5-11 forward Kelsey Hudson. Butterfield will miss the first part of the season as she recovers from an injury.
McHenry said those juniors display leadership, a zest for basketball and a tremendous work ethic that gives the team potential to be competitive. There’s also a strong freshmen group on tap to get the ball moving for the Jaguars.
“We will play hard, we will play fast, and we will have fun and be fun to watch,” McHenry said.