Young, experienced squad will take the floor for White River

If experience counts for anything, the White River High girls should be just fine during the coming basketball season.

The Hornets will again be scrambling for every loose ball

Defense will be the key for Hornets’ successful attack

If experience counts for anything, the White River High girls should be just fine during the coming basketball season.

With nine players on the varsity roster boasting extensive varsity experience, veteran coach Chris Gibson trusts his crew will respond well to the rigors of another South Puget Sound League 3A campaign.

“We’re coming off a really nice summer where the kids gained some valuable experience,” Gibson said. As usual, he took his squad to a huge San Diego tournament where the team placed 23rd in a field of 160 teams.

If experience is a key for the Hornets, it begins at the top. Gibson is in his 12th season at White River and directed the Franklin Pierce program for eight seasons before that.

Gibson’s varsity roster includes seniors Kristine Brons, Kendall Williams and Kristina Quintanilla; juniors Jessica Bush, Rachel Hanson, Carly McCutcheon, Megan McKune, Kelsi Tyler and Hailey Menzel; sophomores Sabra Sproul and Brooke Paulson; and freshman Cassidy France.

“We’re not very old, with just three seniors,” Gibson said, “but we’re got some kids that have been around for awhile.”

Brons, a four-year varsity performer, will be called upon to again run the show from the point guard spot. Gibson is optimistic that she’s fully recovered from knee surgery; Brons suffered a season-ending knee injury during the third game last season, had surgery and received a doctor’s clearance to play in late August.

Other returning starters include Williams – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last year – along with McKune and Tyler. Williams, a 6-foot-2 center who will be playing next season at Western Washington University, is being counted on as a force in the middle.

The soph tandem of Sproul and Paulson will be the teams’ primary outside threats.

As usual, Gibson will look to his defense to set the tone.

“The whole key is the way we play defense,” he said, noting that the Hornets’ patented pressure defense will again be a point of emphasis.

If the Hornets have established a postseason pattern, it’s one Gibson hopes will continue. His teams appeared in four consecutive state tournaments, missed a season, then made four more state trips before falling in the first round of last year’s district tournament.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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