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New attitude for Trojans
The majority of his players weren't even born when Jerry Hurd started coaching basketball at Olympic High.
This is his 18th season in charge of the girls' program and the veteran coach said he's still got the fire.
"I'm excited every year, but I'm especially excited this year," said West Sound's dean of girls basketball.
The Trojans, coming off a 3-17 season, have been picked to finish sixth in the seven-team Narrows League Bridge Division, but Hurd likes the potential of his latest group.
Olympic's got decent size and experience up front with 6-1 senior Tiffany Jess, 6-0 junior Kim Fairbanks and 5-10 senior Brooke Sparling.
"We had decent size last year, but where we improve is depth at the guard position," said Hurd.
Senior Haley Shapley and junior Via Thomas are back, but sophomores Lindsay Neste and Lauren Haas and junior Ali Armstrong give Hurd options he didn't have a year ago.
"Our ball handling will be better," Hurd said. "We struggled against the press last year. We never got a chance to get into our halfcourt game as much as I wanted."
This is a more flexible Olympic team.
"We can go halfcourt with our size, but if we have to adjust our game to get up and down the court I think we can do that," Hurd said. "It's kind of a new attitude."
Jess, who averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds a game a year ago, remains the primary option on offense. She scored 23 points and had 21 points in a 53-50 overtime win over Kingís West on Tuesday,
"Our biggest concern is quick fouls," Hurd said. "Tiffany tends to leave her feet, but she's gotten smarter defensively. Offensively, she has more confidence in that part of her game. We'll try to get it to her as much as possible."
Shapley will man the shooting guard position, with Neste, Armstrong and Thomas the leading ballhandlers. The athletic Haas also figures into the mix.
This is a speedier Olympic squad, which gives Hurd the option to use a full-court press on defense.
"We've got our work cut out for us because this is going to be a strong league," Hurd said. "But we'll be ready to play against these guys. If I don't screw this up, we'll be OK."
Trojans at a Glance
Coach - Jerry Hurd (18th year).
Last year - 3-17.
Returners - Tiffany Jess, sr., 6-1, P; Brooke Sparling, sr., 5-10, F/P; Haley Shapley, sr., 5-6, G.; Kim Fairbanks, jr., 6-0, P; Dianne Mangio, jr., 5-6, F; Via Thomas, jr., 5-4, G.
Newcomers - Lindsay Neste, so., 5-6, G; Lauren Haas, so., 5-6, G; Katie Sweet, so., 5-8, F; Stormy Peterson, jr., 5-7, G/F; Ali Armstrong, jr., 5-7, G.