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Eagles have reason for optimism

Laurie Stearns works for Krispy Kreme, but that’s not why the Klahowya girls basketball coach is confident the Eagles won’t put up another doughnut in the win column this season.

Klahowya was 0-21 last year, a year that started with just four players showing up on the first day of tryouts.

The outlook is much better this year for the Eagles.

“We still need a lot of developing, but we’ve got some athletes,” Stearns said. “I’m excited about the possibility of what they’re going to become. I can’t wait until we get about eight games under our belt.

The Eagles have four returning starters — seniors Emily Jolly and Erica Langdon and juniors Rachel Fletcher and Jessica Hicks — to build around.

“They’re very, very committed,” Stearns said of this group. “They work so hard. Even last year, when we were getting blown out, we played to the final buzzer, which was not easy.”

Stearns looks for the 5-8 Jolly “to be one of the dominating players in the league. She really worked on her game this summer.”

Playing in the Class 2A Nisqually League is another reason for Stearns’ optimism. The Eagles won’t be bumping heads with 4A and 3A schools, as they did while playing in the Olympic League.

“It’s going to finally be a league we can compete in,” Stearns said. “We’ll be able to gain some confidence, playing schools our size on a regular basis, and that’s big for a program’s that’s been struggling.”

In addition to Jolly, Stearns thinks Hicks’ outside shooting will be a strength, and she has high expectations for 5-8 junior Britini Hintz.

“She’s our secret weapon,” Stearns said of Hintz, a first-team all-Nisqually League soccer player. “Her foot work is phenomenal for not playing last year. She’s a very good athlete with a lot of speed.”

Stearns, who played collegiately at Eastern Washington and Biola in California, is a store manager for Issaquah-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Those doughnuts might come in handy.

“I might bring some if we have an early meeting,” she said. “Get them on a sugar high when it’s tough to get up in the morning.”

EAGLES AT A GLANCE

Coach — Laurie Stearns (2nd year).

Last year — 0-21.

Returning players — Emily Jolly, sr., 5-8, F/G; Erica Langdon, sr., 5-1, G; Rachel Fletcher, jr., 5-6, G; Jessica Hicks, jr., 5-6, G.

Newcomers — Stephanie Chissus, so., 5-4, G; Laura Dana, so., 5-8, F; Alicia Edwards, so., 5-10, C; Britini Hintz, jr., 5-8, F; Alisha Langdon, so., 5-4, F; Dorothy Liebenrood, jr., 4-10, G; Nikki Swanson, so., 5-9, F.

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