Sports

Issaquah loaded with youth, athletes | Girls basketball preview

Issaquah guard Tayrn Holmes returns as the Eagles
Issaquah guard Tayrn Holmes returns as the Eagles' senior captain in 2012.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter

With seven seniors graduated from last year’s 17-7 team, the Issaquah girls basketball team certainly had some holes to fill in 2012.

Head coach Kathy Gibson likes the way things are headed so far.

“I think this team can be really good, I love the potential this group has,” she said.

Six girls with varsity experience and a key group of newcomers have helped the Eagles get off to a 5-2 start.

The returners include 5-foot-10 senior Sabrina Norton  —  daughter of former NFL standout and current Seattle Seahawks’ linebacker coach Ken Norton, Jr. She averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game as a junior.

The Eagles also return senior guard Taryn Holmes as team captain as well as senior forward Ngozi Monu. Junior guards Aimee Brakken and Quincey Gibson along with sophomore guard MacKenzie Wieburg bring valuable varsity experience.

In addition, Issaquah has some key newcomers, including sophomore Mandie Hill. The transfer from California is averaging a team-high 14 points through seven games.

“She is a point guard with an offensive mind and shooter’s mentality,” Gibson said.

One thing the Eagles lack, however, is size. Norton is the team’s tallest player at 5-10.

“We know it’s a disadvantage, so we will need to work harder on the defensive side and on rebounding,” Gibson said. “Most teams seem to have at least one 6-footer, some have two or more  —  just not us.”

Issaquah plans to counter its lack of size with defensive pressure and an up-tempo style of play.

“We will look to push the tempo but will need to take care of the ball in the process,” said Gibson, noting young teams can struggle with consistency.

As usual, goals are high for the Eagles, who have made the state tournament five out of the last seven seasons. Gibson thinks as the season progresses things will just get better.

“The girls work hard, have pretty good team chemistry and are coachable,” she said. “They seem to really want to get better which has been a lot of fun.”

 

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