SK's new coach brings up-tempo style to team

"Every year the turnover rate varies, but the 2000-2001 South Kitsap High School girls basketball team is retooling with a new coach and new starters.Gone from a year ago are seven SK players who played a significant role in the team's 20-8 record and fourth-straight appearance at state.Coach Mike Allen said he hopes this year's team continues the trend of making it to state.We haven't talked as far what we want to set our goals for, Allen said. But I do know if we don't get back to the state tournament we'll be disappointed.Allen is in his first year as the Wolves' head coach, but he is familiar with his players.After Gary Wilson resigned as coach two games into last season, Allen was one of three new assistant coaches who filled in to help interim coach Doug Green.Allen was named head coach last spring and gained more experience with his team after coaching 35 games this summer in various tournaments.Six letter winners return, but only senior Nicole Eggebraten and junior Katie Ralph logged a considerable number of minutes.Juniors Rebekah Proctor, Sarah Groves and Megan LaFerriere played sparingly last year but they will all be called upon to help lead the Wolves this year.Also returning to the court is senior Rachelle Cooper, who opted not to play basketball last year after playing varsity her sophomore year.Sorely missed from last year's squad is the inside scoring of Angela Sampson (Weber State), pesky defense of Kristin Boyd (Highline Community College), and sharpshooting of Beth Ellis (Seattle University).But Allen said the lack of a go-to player will only make his team more of a threat.It will be different every night, Allen said. I don't think you'll be able to key on one person.Eggebraten may be the most vital to SK's success as the point.After playing behind Lindsey Foster her sophomore year and enduring a rotation roulette last season, the point guard will be given the reigns to be the floor leader.Though the point guard is known for establishing the tempo and passing the ball to open players, Allen said he has more in store for Eggebraten.My point guards don't just bring the ball down, Allen said. My point guards have to score, too. If she's going to play point guard she'll have to score, too.Proctor, who also played some point guard last year, will move over to shooting guard.In the past four years SK, has always been a threat around the three-point arch. But this year the team may depend on inside scoring and putback points off rebounds.Eggebraten can hit the trey, as can Proctor and Groves, who's not afraid to shoot from anywhere.Allen said the addition of Cooper down low solidifies and expands the capabilities of making adjustments to different opponents.We've got enough diversity on the team that we can go with a four-guard offense or three posts if we need to, he said. We'll be able to match up with people how we want to match up with them.LaFerriere (6-1) and Ralph (5-10) may give teams fits down low because of their mixture of height and a soft shooting touch.Allen said Cooper, though only 5-9, will probably draw some of the toughest matchups.When we were in San Diego for that tournament (last summer) Rachelle Cooper played big, Allen said. We will put her on teams' biggest post.Allen is already leaving his mark as coach who believes in conditioning and lifting weights.I think a lot of girls got scared off after hearing we were going to be running a lot, working hard and having an up-tempo game, Allen said. Some of them said, 'It's just too scary,' which is good because you want the kids to come out that really want to play.Though past SK teams have enjoyed success at the state tournament (including a third-place finish in 1999), those teams noticeably grew tired in the fourth quarter.That is something Allen vows will never happen under his tenure.These kids are conditioning really hard and they're certainly going to prepare to be the best team in the fourth quarter, he said.Besides the use of crazy devices, Allen said all the players are going to lift weights all season. One of the reasons for that to avoid injury and get them into good game shape, Allen said. The Narrows League will once again be bi-polar, having a combination of strong and weak teams.Allen said Bellarmine is the team to beat and also said he was impressed with Stadium, Capital, and Olympia, which brings back most of its starters.It will competitive and it needs to be, Allen said. It's good for us because we need to go into the state tournament really prepared. "

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