LAKEWOOD – The Cougars top player this year doesn’t even live in this country.
Junior point guard Myriam Frechilla is a foreign exchange student from Spain.
She was honored Tuesday night, along with seniors Nicole Miller, Malia Ryden, Riley Molloy and Shealey Miller in their last home game.
Coach Chris Walster said in a season in which they have only won three games, “She’s been a blessing. I don’t know where we would have been without her.”
Her importance was evident in the first few minutes of the game against Squalicum. Not only did she jump center, she also got their first rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup. She was fouled and converted the free throw to give the home team a short-lived 3-0 lead. A little later she blocked a shot. By the end of the quarter the Storm led 22-8, but Frechilla had five of the Cougar points.
“She has skill and athleticism. She has a great attitude,” Walster said. “The girls love her. They are going to be sad to see her go.”
He will, too. “We tried to get her to come back next year, but she said her visa won’t allow it.”
Frechilla lives with another foreign exchange student from France at the home of Richard and Sherrie Orr. They have a son, Ryan, and daughter, Chelsea, who also attend LHS. Chelsea is on the JV team. “We play basketball at home a lot,” Frechilla said.
An only child, Frechilla said she was homesick the first few weeks, but now loves it here. After her senior year in Valladolid in northwest Spain, she wants to return to play college basketball in Washington state because even college ball isn’t that big there.
She said sports aren’t a big deal in high school in Spain either. “Everybody plays a sport here,” she said. Her high school team often wins league in Spain, but they only play one game a week. She likes that she gets to play more games here. Most of her previous experience comes from playing on a select team.
She said she’s become a better player at LHS. As a point guard in Spain, she mostly distributes the ball and scores layups off drives. “I love having the ball and moving the team,” she said, adding Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics is her favorite player.
But for the Cougars she’s relied on to score more. She’s developed her 3-point shot here, and also has had to work harder on offense because she often draws the opponent’s top defender.
In Spain, she said her family does a lot of traveling, going to Portugal and New York last year. But she doesn’t do much except for basketball, other than studying for school.
“She’s been a bright and shining star for us,” Walster said.
Arlington whipped Oak Harbor 51-31 Tuesday.
Josie Stupey led the winners with 15 points, followed by Sierra Scheppele with 12, Kiera Marsh 6, Hailey Hiatt and Allison Deberry 5 each, Makenzie Gage 3, Abbey Hassing and Ella Strittmatter with 2 each and Abbey Schwark 1.
Meanwhile, Snohomish picked up a big win at Marysville Getchell 51-39, despite 20 points from Charger Mikail Montez.
The loss dropped MG to 14-4 overall, 8-4 in league, while the Panthers improved to 12-6.
MG was never in it, falling behind 18-9 in the first period, but playing fairly even after that.
Maddy Grandbois added 7 points, Sydney Norton 6, and Madison Hagglund and Alexus Atkins 3 each.
Squalicum beat Lakewood 60-52 in overtime.
Two Marysville-Pilchuck divers – Andrew Kallio and Daniel Kirkwood – have already qualified for state.
Coach Meredith Jenks said it’s the first time the team has had divers on the boys team accomplish that feat – ahead of the district meet – since Shauna Kopischka took over as diving coach.
The combined M-P/Marysville Getchell swim team will see if any others will qualify at the district meet Feb. 8-9 at Snohomish. State is Feb. 16-17 in Federal Way.
Other possibilities include:
MP’s Ian Meetsma in the 50, 100 and 200 free; 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke
MG’s Jesse Nahinu in the 50, 200 and 500 free; and 100 breaststroke.
MG’s Nicholas Carlson in the 100 and 200 free
MG’s Andrew Christensen in the 500 free
MG’s Cameron Wilkes in the 100 butterfly
M-P’s Leif Anderson 100 breast
MG’s 200-yard medley relay and 400 freestyle relay