With a veteran core of returning players, long-time coach Ted Carlson has been putting his Enumclaw High girls basketball team through their early-season paces.
Now, things get real. The Hornets opened the season last night (Tuesday) against the Rogers Rams, a team that features many returnees from a year ago when the squad reached the Elite Eight in the Class 4A state tourney. Thursday, Carlson and crew travel to face Thomas Jefferson High, and Friday brings the annual boys/girls hoop doubleheader against White River. This year, the games are on the EHS campus with the girls tipping off at 5:15 p.m.
“Things are looking good,” Carlson said last week. “I like the way the girls are jelling.” Having said that, Carlson was still tinkering, looking for the most effective combinations on the floor.
Things will begin with the senior quartet of post players Sydney Brazier and Jesslyn Huizenga and guards Rén Olson and Sawyer Anderson. When postseason honors were handed out following last season, Brazier was a second-team, all-NPSL selection, while Huizenga and Anderson were third-team picks.
The rest of Carlson’s varsity roster includes juniors Saydee Anderson, Olivia Rodarte and Karsyn Kranc, plus sophomores Ellie DeGroot, Addie Neu, Rosie Penke and Marissa Espinoza.
Fans of the Enumclaw High boys basketball team might need to keep their programs handy, as plenty of new faces dot the varsity roster.
Coach Terry Johnson lost six players to graduation, including the solid Engebretsen brothers Kale and Bryson, Travis Smith, Kellen Kranc and Easton Tandecki. All played in at least 15 of the Hornets’ 20 games last year.
But the most glaring loss is Peter Erickson, who is suiting up for his senior season at Federal Way High School. The Hornets’ leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, he was a first-team, all-league pick a year ago.
Heading into this year’s campaign, Johnson has assembled a varsity roster made up of a lone senior, Dylan DeRosier (a transfer who brings varsity experience from Eatonville); juniors Will Schroeder, Jordan Iacobazzi, Cam Brauer, John Leonard, Drew Kuzaro, Carson Firnkoess and Tyler Feddema; and sophomores Dane Goudy, Malcolm Harper and John Carnino.
Of that group, Leonard and Feddema are the only ones with extensive playing time at the EHS varsity level. Each appeared in all 20 games last season.
While most of his crew hasn’t seen a lot of varsity minutes, “they’ve got a lot of other positive things going for them,” Johnson said. Primary among those attributes, he explained, is a dedication to improving and an ability to come together as a cohesive unit.
Given the nature of this season’s roster, Johnson said, players’ roles could change daily. A Hornet who doesn’t play much one night could be a major contributor the next game.
Adding to this year’s intrigue is the lack of a dominant inside force. For that reason, Johnson said, this year’s group “will probably shoot more 3’s than any team I’ve coached.”
Johnson and his Hornets begin the season with three games in three days. Thursday, the squad will host Thomas Jefferson (a league contest), Friday brings a home game against White River and Saturday features a road trip to face Union High of Camas.