It’s a slightly new world for the Spartan girls, who are playing under the watchful eye of coach Josh Blakeslee. He took the top job after Jordan Moog, the reigning SPSL 4A Coach of the Year, stepped away from the program. Blakeslee isn’t an unfamiliar face, having moved up from coaching the junior varsity.
On top the a coaching change, the team was hit hard by graduation, saying goodbye to leaders like Kelsey Bell, Kaitlyn Clark and Kennedy Cutter.
Key returnees bolstering the Sumner program include senior Ellie Salisbury, who recently committed to playing next season at Northwest Nazarene University, and sophomores Anu Borden and Karina McMillan. Blakeslee’s varsity roster also includes senior Marina Carey and junior McKenna McDaniel. Youth is well served as half the roster is made up of freshmen: the list of varsity ninth-graders includes Kaylee Cooper, Jadey Parrott, Payton Martinson, Catelyn Deaver and Alyson Deaver.
Blakeslee coached his first varsity game Monday when the Spartans hosted Cascade Christian and will be back on the bench tonight, Nov. 28, when Sumner heads across the Narrows Bridge to challenge the Peninsula Seahawks in another nonleague contest.
The squad will be looking to continue the success story built a year ago when the Spartans went 12-4 in league play and finished 16-4 overall during the regular season. The Spartans advanced to the district tournament but two losses brought the campaign to a close.
In looking to improve upon a 2017-18 season that saw slightly more losses than wins, the Spartans will likely lean on senior AJ Andino. A season ago, he was Sumner’s leading scorer at 11.3 per outing and was rewarded with second team honors when the all-South Puget Sound League 4A team was announced.
Others returning to the Spartan lineup from last year’s varsity roster include seniors Cody Tanneberg, Jake Denison and Carson Bohl; this year’s group of juniors includes Josh Lear, who averaged double-figure scoring last season, along with Mason Donovan and Mitchell Wolfe.
Coach Jake Jackson’s squad started the season Nov. 24 with a jamboree at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep. The team moves quickly into SPSL 4A play, hosting Curtis High at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4.
The Spartan boys are coming off a season in which they were 7-9 in SPSL 4A play and fell one victory shy of making the district tournament.