Sports

OC optimistic despite slow start

By STEVE DEDUAL

For the Central Kitsap Reporter

The Olympic College Rangers women’s basketball team is struggling once again with an 0-3 start, but new head coach Paul Felker said he is still positive about the season ahead.

“For this season,” Felker said, “I still think we can be a competitive team in the north division.”

Felker graduated in 1996 from Enumclaw High School and was a 1st Team All-South Puget Sound League (North) basketball selection his junior and senior season. He was recruited by OC Athletic Director Barry Janusch and started for the Rangers both years he attended. In his sophomore year, Felker was named captain. After leaving OC, Felker played two more seasons at Central Washington University, making it to two NCAA Division II National tournaments.

Felker has been the assistant coach for OC’s men’s team for the last four years and is looking forward to coaching at this level.

“I really like it so far,” Felker said. “It’s more responsibility, more pressure and more of a challenge, but that’s kinda what I was looking for. It’s been a real learning experience so far and I’ve really enjoyed it to this point.”

The team, which went 5-21 last year under coach Leslie Weaver with three of those wins coming by way of forfeit, has three players returning from last year’s disappointing squad, guard Ariel McDermott from Central Kitsap High, forward Laraa Brown from Puyallup High and forward Whitney Pearson from North Mason High. Megan Gilbert from South Kitsap High, who red-shirted last season, also will be playing this year.

There also are some new stars to the team that Felker is excited about like Patricia Lewis from Bremerton, who transferred to OC as a sophomore from North Seattle Community College.

“She’s doing a real good job for us,” said Felker. “She’s one that has been really coachable throughout the summer, she’s a really good listener and she plays at a really high level. I think she had 16 points and like 13 rebounds last night.”

Another bright spot for Felker is freshman Coty Ettl from Central Kitsap High.

“She was a highly recruited community college player and she takes the game very seriously,” Felker said.

OC suffered its first two losses on the road this year against Lane, 72-105, and Linn-Benton, 64-84, but Tuesday saw them drop their first home game to the Green River Gators, 72-54.

“Are we starting a little slower than I had anticipated, yeah,” Felker said. “There’s definitely things we need to work on, especially defensively, I think we need to get a lot better, but I still feel positive about the team.”

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