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Highland Christian in teaching phase
ARLINGTON — For the first time in Steve Brown’s tenure as Highland Christian’s girls basketball coach, he doesn’t have a junior varsity squad.
“For a while we’ve been able to appreciate training our players the basics and teaching them what to expect at the next level,” said Brown, who is entering his sixth year.
When combining a lack of players with graduating six seniors, including all starters from last year’s team that finished in third place in the class 1B Northwest League, Brown realizes he has a lot of work to do.
“The league is going to be tougher than in past years because we’ll be competing with North Sound Christian and Lummi like we have every year,” he said. “But looking at Grace — they are going to be putting a good foot forward and so is Tulalip (Heritage).”
Brown is happy to say he returns three pieces from last year’s success, including sophomore guards Ester Brown and Sarah Tummler, and junior forward Jade Olin.
“It’s pretty good to say that you can return four of your five starters with varsity experience,” Brown said. “They are the leaders as I see it.”
That experience is rare on the Knights, as the group is without a senior this year and just three of its nine players are juniors. That youth has its pluses and minuses, as Brown sees it.
“We do have to go back to basics, but on the other hand, we are a more mobile team than last year,” he said. “We’re going to play differently because we’re younger and smaller. Last year we ran sets mostly and we’re going to try to run more fast breaks.”
He also expects key contributions from guard Shay Titmus and forward Kayla Sytsma. Brown said that his young, athletic group has the two necessary ingredients to overcome inexperience.
“These are just a great group of girls who get along really well and are excited to learn how to play basketball,” he said. “That makes everything easier.”
The Knights opened up its season Dec. 8 at Grace Academy and plays at home in the 10th Street gym vs Concrete at 6 p.m. Dec. 10.