Players who climbed high on White River’s career scoring lists have departed, leaving holes to fill as Hornet coaches Chris Gibson and Rick Tripp prepare for the coming basketball season.
Gone from the White River girls squad is Amanda Lance, a four-year varsity performer who landed as the program’s No. 2 all-time scorer, trailing only Trisha Hermanson (1998-2001). She has taken her game, courtesy of a scholarship offer, to Western Washington University.
Also departed from the Hornet hoop scene is Dustin France, who concluded his White River playing days as the No. 2 all-time scorer for the boys program.
The White River crew – both boys and girls – are now preparing for a doubleheader with neighboring Enumclaw High. On Friday, the programs will square off in the EHS gym; the girls take the court at 5:15 p.m., followed by the boys at 7.
White River girls
Gibson has built a program that rarely seems to miss a beat. When an all-league player is lost to graduation, another steps into a starring role.
The result is a record of accomplishment rivaled by few in the state. Since taking over the White River girls program, Gibson has directed the Hornets to state-tournament appearances in 15 of his 17 seasons.
The Hornets have brought fourth-place trophies home to Buckley following the past two state Class 2A tournaments.
While the personnel losses are significant – aside from Lance, graduation also took first-team, all-league selection Kristin Sturdivan – Gibson’s cupboard is far from bare.
Among those returning to the court is junior forward Kendall Bird, who has been a first-team, all-league pick her first two seasons. She is joined by senior Darian Gore, a second-team pick a season ago, and junior Maci Goethals, an honorable mention selection.
This year’s varsity, Gibson admits, is plenty deep. On the roster – aside from Gore, Bird and Goethals – are seniors Kayla Howard, Sydney Andersen, Dallas Bushaw and Sidney Schultz; junior Lucy Rasmussen; and sophomore sisters Georgia and Sophia Lavinder.
That’s a load of talent returning from a squad that won 24 of 28 games a year ago.
As usual, Gibson is preaching defense and rebounding, factors that will win games even if the offense has an off night. “If those things come together,” he said, “we have a chance to win a lot of games.”
Rebounding looks to work in the Hornets’ favor every time out, as few teams can match White River’s size. Gore is pushing 6 feet, 3 inches and Bird has grown to 6-2.
White River boys
Among the returnees with notable playing experience is junior forward Alex Wallen, who averaged almost 12 points per outing a season ago. Others on the early-season varsity roster include seniors Hunter Mills, Chris Marmon, Tyler Meadows and Trevor Truax; juniors Ryan Larsen, Cameron Cawley and Ryan Lusk; sophomores Beau Coogan and Matt Funkhouser; and freshmen Brandon Howard and Joe Flanigan.
At 6-foot-4, Marmon is the tallest of this year’s Hornets.
The veterans had a taste of postseason play last season. The Hornet boys were a sub-.500 squad during the regular season (11-13), but won three of four district games to be among the final 16 Class 2A teams still playing. The run came to an end with a regional loss to Squalicum High.