White River coach’s scheduling strategy backfires | Girls Basketball

White River High girls’ basketball coach Chris Gibson admits that his scheduling strategy “kind of backfired on me.”

With room in this year’s campaign for only four nonleague games, Gibson scrapped his traditional holiday tournament, figuring he didn’t want to burn three of those opportunities in the span of three days. Instead, he scheduled a trio of tough nonleague games during January.

Now, with nasty winter weather wreaking havoc on sports calendars, Gibson and his Hornet girls are looking at a schedule seriously out of balance. They’re currently in the midst of a span where they will play just one game in 20 days but are looking ahead to a demanding stretch where they’ll suit up for perhaps 13 games during the month of January.

White River’s only game slated for last week, a Friday night home contest against Franklin Pierce, was canceled due to inclement weather that closed schools. The team had one game planned for this week – a Monday affair with visiting Lakes High – and will not play again until Jan. 3, when they host Graham-Kapowsin in nonleague action. Results of Monday’s South Puget Sound League 3A battle with Lakes came too late to be included here. The meeting with Franklin Pierce had not been rescheduled as of Monday.

Gibson said the lengthy, forced hiatus from league play does a team no good.

“After you get rolling, a few days off doesn’t help any,” he said, noting that nothing keeps high school athletes sharp like a steady diet of games. Practice isn’t nearly the same, but Gibson is tinkering with his planned schedule in an effort to keep his crew fine-tuned. The Hornets were going to receive a five-day vacation away from the gym, but that notion may get tossed.

White River has good reason to stay focused. The Hornets have zipped to a 4-0 season record, including a 3-0 mark in SPSL 3A play, and are solidly entrenched in the early-season Top 10 statewide polls.

Through the early going, the Hornets have been paced offensively by sophomore Brooke Paulson, who has expanded her outside-shooting game to include midrange jumpers and work under the hoop, and the inside presence of 6-foot-2 senior Kendall Williams. Paulson is averaging 16 points per game thus far and Williams is hitting for almost 12 per contest.

Reach Kevin Hanson at or 360-802-8205.

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