WHITE RIVER GIRLS
The White River Hornet girls team never seem to need an overhaul, just some annual tinkering with quality, familiar parts.
That’s the legacy of success Chris Gibson has built on the Buckley campus, where league titles and state tournament appearances are never out of the question.
But the squad Gibson puts on the floor this season will be notably different that his past few teams. Gone is Kendall Bird, a four-year starter and two-time league MVP who finished her Hornet career as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Her size and talents landed her a scholarship at San Diego University.
The White River lineup is still stocked with proven talent, however, and includes four players who garnered postseason honors a season ago. Back on the court are seniors Georgia Lavinder, a first-team all-league selection last year and Sofia Lavinder, a second-team pick. Juniors LeeAudrey Norris and Chloe Narolski earned all-league honorable mention a year ago.
Others who had significant playing time last year include seniors Megan Cash and Taylee Goethals, junior Noelle Mills and sophomore Emma Robbins. Rounding out the roster are senior Emma Cash, sophomores Sam Fiedler and DeeDee Forsman, and freshmen Kara Marecle and Taylor Schmidtke. Robbins is slated for plenty of playing time once she recovers from a knee injury suffered near the end of the fall soccer season.
Gibson likes the look of this year’s squad, noting that he has good shooters, multiple players comfortable handling the ball and plenty of depth. And they improved individually and as a team during a summer of tournament play. The White River squad annually competes in a large tourney in San Diego and, for the first time, claimed a championship. That was followed by a winning effort at a Hawaii tournament.
The Hornets are coming off a season that would be considered remarkable at some schools but has become commonplace in the halls of White River High. Gibson’s squad spent time as the top-rated team in the state, earned a first-round bye into the Class 2A state tournament and – once at the Yakima SunDome – won one of three games. That resulted in sixth-place state honors, going along with fourth-place finishes in both 2015 and 2014 and third-place honors in 2012.
During Gibson’s 19 years at White River, the Hornets have reached the state tourney’s Sweet 16 in all but two seasons.
WHITE RIVER BOYS
With a mix of familiar faces and varsity newcomers, coach Rick Tripp is leading his White River boys basketball team into another campaign.
Tripp, coming off co-Coach of the Year honors a season ago, will head into the 2017-18 season having lost six seniors and much of his offensive firepower to graduation. Gone are Alex Wallen, who was a first-team all-league performer a year ago; Cameron Cawley, a second-team selection; and Ryan Larsen, an honorable mention pick. Those three were the Hornets’ leading scorers last year, the only ones averaging double-figure scoring.
The top returnee is junior Joe Flanigan, who was accorded honorable mention status by league coaches a season ago when he averaged 9.8 points per outing.
He is joined on the early-season varsity roster by returning seniors Bryan Charest, Kaden Phillips and Chance Glissmeyer; junior Brandon Howard; and sophomore TJ Stroschein. New to Tripp’s varsity roster are seniors Tanner Wallen and Emery Riendeau, juniors Mavrik Mills and Isaac Voellger, and sophomore Ryan Firle.
Tripp, in his ninth season leading the program, looks for Glissmeyer to play a large role in the Hornet fortunes. And, hoping for continued success, Tripp notes that last season’s junior varsity squad was tops in the league while headed by Wallen, Voellger, Phillips and Stroschein.
Last year’s Hornet squad advanced to the West Central District tournament after placing third during the regular South Puget Sound League 2A season and splitting a pair of crossover games. The team’s final record was 14-11.