Sports

Cougars, Trojans gear up for hoops season

Kim Kummer is one of several Central Kitsap returners that hopes to repeat the Cougs’ state run of 2004-05. Just a junior, she’ll also be part of a young squad counted on to take over leadership duties from departed seniors like Emily Zygmontowicz, Kaitlin Poppe and Amy Spieker.     - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kim Kummer is one of several Central Kitsap returners that hopes to repeat the Cougs’ state run of 2004-05. Just a junior, she’ll also be part of a young squad counted on to take over leadership duties from departed seniors like Emily Zygmontowicz, Kaitlin Poppe and Amy Spieker.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The Central Kitsap girls basketball team wasn’t ready for their state ride to end during the 2004-05 campaign when it did.

But with just four departures from last season, the Cougars are ready to repeat that run, and maybe just take it a little bit farther.

“It’s a good mix of kids,” CK coach Denise Baxter said of the young and talented CK squad. “Leadership is key. We have a strong junior class back from last year’s team, so that’s a good group for the sophomores now to learn from.”

With a strong returning core, including Narrows League Bridge Division powerhouse Megan Hoisington (15 points-per-game, 9.5 rebounds-per-game) and fellow starter Randie Lee, the Cougars already figured to be back among the Narrows League’s best. CK finished 21-6, 14-0 in Bridge play, last season, claiming the Bridge title for the third consecutive year.

But with a talented, and tall, group of sophomores, not to mention the transfer of Kayla Bennett from Bremerton, the Cougars have fortified what figures to be one of the top post teams in the region, adding returner Dacotah Ettl to that mix as well.

“They’re working really hard,” Baxter said. “I’ve been looking forward to coaching this group for a while.”

CK lost a lot of talent in Emily Zygmontowicz, Kaitlin Poppe and Amy Spieker, but Baxter said the work ethic, and leadership, those players brought to the table didn’t leave with them.

“That’s something that if you don’t have it, your program is really going to struggle,” Baxter said. “If you don’t teach kids to be good leaders, train them to be good leaders, then you’re consistently struggling, kicking at the door.”

Also returning are Kim Kummer, Melinda Pfaff and Ariel McDermott, each of whom saw substantial time during the Cougs’ state run.

With so much young talent, Baxter said she’ll have no problem getting her sophomore’s some valuable minutes, something key newcomers Lauren Forney, Nolan Winger and Sam Sudy should enjoy.

“When you look at our roster, I don’t think we’ve had as many 5-feet, 9-inch, 5’10” girls,” Baxter said. “It should be nice. If I were a sophomore, I’d like it.”

While Bennett brings 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds to the team, she’s also been battling early hip problems that Baxter said she received an MRI for yesterday.

“That’s the big question mark right now,” Baxter said of Bennett, adding that undoubtedly, she makes CK a better team.

Baxter said she’ll be able to go to her bench in a larger variety of situations as well.

“We have much better depth than we’ve had,” she said. “It’s just again, that question with the sophomores. They just haven’t played a game yet.”

So if anyone should feel confident heading into the season, it’s CK. But don’t think Baxter and the Cougs will let up.

“I feel good about the group of girls we have,” Baxter said. “That’s what I feel confident about. That’s something that will really help us get through what we need to get through.”

The CK girls open the season Saturday, Dec. 3 with a 5:45 p.m. home game against Lakeside.

Olympic

With a few familiar faces, a bunch of new ones and a figure from Olympic’s storied past, the Trojans girls basketball team should be a much improved version of the team that took the floor a year ago.

And while the Trojans won’t be a state contender, considering a 1-19 mark last season (0-14 in the Bridge), Al Gleich and a talented sophomore core will look to continue to change the face of Trojan athletics.

“It’s good. We’ve been working hard here,” Gleich said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Gleich, who had worked as North Kitsap’s athletic director the past two seasons, coached the Olympic boys team for 10 years, helping guide the Trojans to the 1983 state title.

Gleich said it’s great to be back on the court and out of the office.

“I love it,” he said. “That’s what I missed. I love the practices. It’s a little different coaching girls than guys.”

Especially considering the Trojans will again be one of the youngest teams in the Bridge division.

“We’re improving everyday,” he said. “We’re going to be young. We’re possibly starting three sophomores.”

Olympic has a host of returners, including Shannon White, who averaged 10 points and 6 steals per contest as a sophomore. Also back are Storm Fanua and Megan Allbee, amongst others who Gleich said will be key to the Trojans’ improvement.

In terms of new players, another talented sophomore group will help lead Olympic this year, including three that helped the Oly soccer team return to the postseason.

Pepper Fanua, Rachel Haas and Kelsey Anchors, along with Brittney Fry, Shawntell Bradford and Nicole Buhl, are amongst the sophomores Gleich said will need to help the Trojans right away.

But with a lack of size (the Trojans have no one taller than 5’9”), Gleich said they’ll have to make teams play their way.

“We don’t have any real size,” he said. “We have to do some things. We have to do some multiple defenses. And offensively, we have to play to our strengths.”

While the team is loaded with athleticism, Gleich said it will be interesting to see how the younger athletes that are primarily soccer players make the

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