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Mix of youth and experience at Darrington
The Darrington Logger girls basketball team will be a strange combination this year.
Four seniors will be on the team as well as four freshman, in a rarity of varsity sports. There will be two returning senior starters from last season as well as one new starter amongst the upperclassmen. The freshmen may well round out the starting lineup depending on what Coach Ben Bryson decides to do.
Leading the strong senior class will be returner Caitlin Pendergrass, a second team all-league selection from last season. Pendergrass is solid shooter and a great presence on the boards.
Caitlin is a double-double machine, said Bryson. Shes bringing back a lot of experience in big games for us.
Senior Kimi Woodward will be stepping into the role of starting point guard after not starting last season. Woodward returns fully healthy after an ankle injury sidelined her for the beginning of last season.
She lost valuable time on the court, said Bryson referring to Woodwards injury. She is a tremendous defender and were counting on her to run everything for us on offense.
The third senior starter, Jordan Corley, already has starting experience from last year.
Shes a real scrapper for her height, said Bryson, She can play anything on the court. Shes a great rebounder and Im expecting her to have a big season.
Those three seniors will form the heart of the lineup and be expected to produce every game. But they will be getting an injection of youth from four talented freshman, including two twins with big potential.
Hailey and Randi Wales, both freshman, will both be counted on for major minutes. The young duo has been dominating every level on the way up and hope to continue their impressive run. There is no junior class on the team, so floor time will be available to both of them if they stand out in practice.
The twins have talent, said Bryson. Hailey has the ability to play three different spots for us on the court. She can post for us, she can put the ball on the floor, shes a multi-talented young player. Randi is more of a banger and should see time at the post position. Thats where her strength is.
They are both 510 tall as ninth-graders which has Bryson justifiably excited.
We havent had a good post presence in a while, he said. Well be able to count on Randis ability to score from the inside. Its going to be fun to watch Darrington the next four years.
The fourth senior on the team Katie Longley will be a guard-wing type player for the Loggers. She brings a lot of energy to the group and will be counted on for her prowess on defense.
Were young overall but were talented enough to compete in the league, said Bryson. A lot of teams lost key seniors this year. Shoreline lost four starters from their league championship team. I still think theyll be good as will LaConner who has a new coach.
Much for Darrington will be dependent on how quickly the young players develop. If they hit the ground running and provide instant production Darrington can compete with anybody. If they struggle to find their footing, it could be a rough early stretch.
I think the girls are going to surprise people this year, said Bryson. Ive got to develop the girls in spots where they can compete and feel at ease. Thats my job for the season. But we have some versatile players and that helps us a lot.
Bryson banks his belief in the team on the strength of its defense.
Our defense has been at the top of the league since I started coaching, he said. The girls practice hard at it, and we run a strong zone. Defense will win a lot of games for us, especially come playoff time.
The future is bright for Darrington, what remains to be seen is if the present team can make a run of its own.