Hoquiam girls basketball coach Chad Allan sees three components as the recipe for success this season.
“We don’t have a lot of size, so speed, defense and teamwork is what we’re going to try to hang our hat on this year,” Allan observed. “(We’re going to try) to create an up-tempo game and use our defense to create our offense.”
Plagued by shooting and ball-handling issues, the Grizzlies finished 7-13 last season. With most of their starters returning, they figure to improve on that mark in 2012-13 and are ranked among the top teams in the Evergreen 1A League.
Hoquiam opens its season with a non-leaguer at home against Ocosta on Tuesday.
Allan is hopeful that the development of sophomore guard Ellie Quercia will help rectify his team’s turnover difficulties. The quick, athletic Quercia, who came off the bench last season, will start at the point this year.
Much of Hoquiam’s scoring figures to come from the wings. Junior Brandi Creviston is a dangerous long-range shooter, while versatile 5-foot-10 senior Chelsy Stewart is equally effective inside or on the perimeter.
“Chelsy can play every position for us,” Allan noted.
Six-one junior Mikaila Johnson, a district high jump champion, could provide an inside presence. Seniors Jessica Madison and Vanessa Doyle are in a close battle for the other starting forward spot.
Depth should also be one of Hoquiam’s assets. Allan again figures to go with a 10-woman rotation, with Carli Mode (a 5-7 senior transfer from Montesano) and 5-9 senior Tiffani Dhooghe among the first off the bench.
Five-nine senior Bailee Bradley and 5-7 sophomore Olivia Rose are also available, while 5-10 sophomore Emily Gwinn swinging between the varsity and JV squads.
Ball-handling remains one of Allan’s chief concerns, along with rebounding. He’s seeking to avoid a half-court game as much as possible.
“I see ourselves trying to use the whole court,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of team speed and we’ve got a lot of depth.”
Allan foresees Elma, despite the graduation of all-star post Carly Meister, as the Evergreen 1A League favorite, with rapidly improving Rochester as another potential contender.
Gienelle Harless returns as Hoquiam’s junior varsity coach, with Jackie Jamison joining the Grizzly staff this season.