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LHS girls basketball has high expectations
Competing in a tough Cascade League doesnt faze Lakewood head girls basketball coach Chris Walster. He sees this years Cougar team as capable of competing with the best in the league, as well as the best at state.
I have high expectations for the team this year, he said. The girls keep telling me to keep quiet but we return all our starters and weve got some good girls up from JV to fill out the roster.
Top returner Aly Stewart garnered all-league honors last year. She has started since her freshman season and broke a couple of school records as a junior. Shell return as one of four captains and have a chance to be one of an elite group of Lakewood players to break 1,000 points in a career.
She tied a school record with 10 steals in a game, said Walster. She set an assist record with 11 in a game. Shell play the small forward for us, but shes probably our best ball-handler. When the pressures on, shes the one well go to.
Joining Stewart up front in the starting lineup will be senior Anna Work.
Anna exerts an awful lot of energy, said Walster. Were going to try to tame her down a little bit this year and keep her focused.
Work tied Stewarts record for steals in a game with 10 last season. She scored 29 points in a game against Sedro-Woolley. Shes a three-point threat and one of the quickest players on the roster.
Senior post Jennifer Lind will be relied upon to get the Cougars tough buckets down low. The 510 forward tore her ACL her sophomore year and spent a lot of last season working her way back. She had an outstanding performance at team camp in Spokane this past summer and was the top scoring threat for the team.
Jenn would like to go on and play after this season, said Walster, and if she has the season she is capable of, schools will take a good look at her.
Not as fortunate dealing with ACL problems is senior Jeneca Hoidal. Hoidal was hobbled this fall during the school soccer season and hopes to return to fitness in time for the basketball season.
She will be our point guard if shes healthy, said Walster. Shes a great three-point shooter and very intelligent with the ball. She sets up the offense and gets it running.
Rounding out the starting five is Karli Hesselman, a 511 post player. Set the single game school rebounding record with 19 at Granite Falls last year.
Karli has a lot of potential and is a tremendous athlete, said Walster. Look for her to do big things.
The Cougars run a motion offense, but Walster would like to move the pace even faster in transition this season.
Anna is pretty darn quick and Aly can get up and down the floor, said Walster. Our post players can run well, too. Wed like to get out and break but weve got enough strength inside to play a good half-court game too. I think we can score in the half-court better than we ever have. It might even be tough to find enough shots for all the players that we have who can score.
The road should be tough, with perennial contenders Archbishop Murphy and Kings both fielding strong teams. But Walster believes the Cougars can make a lot of noise in league and beyond.