Girls’ Preseason: Bigger than Basketball

Ava Soleibe, Staff Writer

The Issaquah Girls’ Basketball Team decimated Sammamish High School with a final score of 24-66 on Oct. 29, in the deciding game before the playoffs.

The first half was packed with fouls from both teams, contributing to brief recesses of play, when a hush would fall over the gym, and anticipation for the free throws was palpable. With five minutes left in the half, IHS had a grand total of 10 fouls, and Sammamish had five. The time on the scoreboard was shrinking rapidly, and in a flustered call to the referee, Sammamish held a haphazard time out with a minute and 57 seconds left on the clock. If anything, this time boosted Issaquah morale, evident in the two more points they scored. The final stats for the positive first half was a score of 13-34 and fouls six to 10.

The second half was a battlefield. Dominated by turnovers, most of the game was played in the middle of the Bellevue College court. Desperate grabs at points by Sammamish resulted in people all over the floor. At zero minutes on the clock, the score was 24-66, fouls five to four. Issaquah exponentially increased their point count, digging themselves a trench that Sammamish could not penetrate.

Last winter, the resident girls’ basketball coach, Doug Crandall was abruptly removed from his position. This action altered the season and fostered confusion amongst players.

Due to the absence of a girls’ basketball coach, Trevor Tsuchikawa filled in for the preseason.  Going into the playoffs, Coach Tsuchikawa says, “Fall league is always about everybody getting better as individuals and as a team, the team is really starting to grasp the defensive concepts and things are really coming together. It’s going to be exciting to see how the rest of this weekend comes out because they are all playing really well, they are all working really hard and I am excited to see how they keep developing.” The team will go on to play Kentwood and Bellevue in the playoffs.

Junior Annie Gibbons emerged as a leader in this game, owning the center position and hitting a personal record of 22 points,  while simultaneously supporting her teammates and an equity presence on the court. Gibbons commented on the adjustment between coaches and how it will affect the new season, stating, “They have very different coaching styles, so we had to navigate a new defense and a new offense. That was a hard transition since our last defense and offense worked so well, but I think we are getting the hang of it.”

“Bigger than basketball” is how Junior point guard Sallie Thieme described playing for Coach Crandall. “Coach Doug was one of the biggest role models in my life and his presence was a really good influence, and now I do not have that, so that is really hard.” Gibbons added on, “How he created a team environment was way more than just running drills and plays.”

Another coaching change will take place when the winter season ramps up. The team will return to the courts and let all the fall training pay off, despite the opposition.