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Youthful Wolves hope to sustain success | Girls basketball preview
Everyone involved with South Kitsap’s girls basketball program is reticent to utter the word.
But it appears that this is a rebuilding year for the Wolves.
The last among the core group of players who helped guide South from the two-win 2006-07 season to a pair of state-playoff appearances during the last four seasons have graduated. While the Wolves did not reach state last season, they finished with a 17-6 record and were 13-2 in Class 4A Narrows League play. From that team, South graduated four starters.
“They’re all gone and we’re very young this year,” second-year coach Mike Hulet said.
That does not mean the Wolves believe they cannot finish with their fifth consecutive winning season.
“I definitely think we have a really good chance of getting far,” senior wing Darian Dickey said. “Our age doesn’t mean we can’t go far.”
Hulet believes South has talent, but most of it is young. He particularly likes the sophomore class that features “tremendously athletic” wing Hayley Romo and the versatile Mary Beth Bray. He also likes the team’s upcoming post talent, citing sophomores Kaylee Yergeau and Brianna Shafer.
“We’re going to be young and make some mistakes, but we’re going to grow together,” Hulet said. “We have a very strong group of incoming sophomores. We’re really excited about them.”
Another difference this season relates to the composition of the coaching staff. Hulet said assistant Chris Olsen is dealing with “personal issues” and will not return. He was replaced by Tammy Helwig, who spent the last three seasons as the women’s basketball coach at Olympic College before resigning. Both favor an uptempo offense, but Hulet expects some early season challenges with that.
“We’ll try and do that as much as we can,” he said. “It’s going to take us a while to get going. A lot of these girls come from our junior highs where they play zone.”
Despite the team’s youth, Hulet did not lighten the Wolves’ nonleague schedule, which included Bethel, Bainbridge and Woodinville before tonight’s 4A Narrows’ opener against Mount Tahoma.
“We want to play the best competition we can find because that’s what makes us better,” Hulet said.