Even before the season began, the Eastlake girls basketball team had the template for a memorable run through the postseason.
A senior-laden squad (eight of the team’s 11 varsity players), experienced backcourt and perhaps the conference’s premier inside threat in post Marijke Vanderschaaf had the Lady Wolves envisioning a trip back to the state tournament.
After a 7-0 start in league play and 11 straight wins after a season-opening loss, everything was on track.
But even in the face of their first KingCo loss, 56-46 to Inglemoor last Saturday, head coach Sara Goldie saw progress.
“We got to take a look in the mirror,” she said. “We’re constantly looking at what we’ve given, and what we have to give.”
Goldie said a heart-to-heart among players followed their usual film session, and left the team in an upbeat mood, despite their first setback since the start of December.
“They started talking about how they let each other down, and were going to bring it,” Goldie said. “It is really neat that it came from the kids.”
What the Lady Wolves hope to bring back to Sammamish is the program’s second state tournament appearance in three years, and the fifth in school history.
According to their head coach, all of the pieces are still in place.
Vanderschaaf had been a virtually automatic double-double when she has stepped on the court this season, averaging nearly 15 points and more than 12 rebounds per game. Goldie said while her game was always solid, her leadership and confidence skyrocketed this past offseason.
“Obviously, we depend on her dramatically,” Goldie said of her senior standout. “Every offseason she puts in a ton of work and comes back contributing so much more.”
While Vanderschaaf has provided the inside force, a host of contributors including Ellie Woerner (12 points per game), Rachel Lortenson (eight points, three rebounds per game) and Maggie Douglas (eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals per game) give Goldie and the Lady Wolves an offense with a host of diverse scoring threats.
“Everyone on this team is unselfish,” Goldie said. “I could go on about every player on this team. We have kids coming off the bench and we don’t fall off.”
That depth will continue to be tested down the stretch and throughout any postseason run, with games against Crown Division leaders Newport and Issaquah still remaining.
No 4A KingCo team other than Inglemoor has been within nine points of the Lady Wolves so far during the conference schedule, and Goldie said the emphasis has been on relishing their time together rather than focusing on an outcome still more than a month in the future.
“The piece I love about this team, is they really and truly love each other,” she said. “I feel so fortunate because when I ask them to do something, they just do it.”
Eastlake beat Garfield 55-44 Wednesday and faces Bothell tonight at 6 p.m. on the road.