With the experience and desire to win, the Wolves girls basketball team has every intention of being in the playoffs next season.
“They all feel they deserve to be there (playoffs),” head coach Evan Still said of his team.
“If they commit to the offseason, then there's no reason they aren't in the top three of the league next year.”
Sequim had a shot at the playoffs this year but dropped two at home against the Bremerton Knights in a 57-23 loss (Feb. 5) and to the Port Townsend Redskins in a close 34-30 loss (Feb. 7).
Last week, the Wolves looked to tie Kingston but even if they had won on Feb. 7, the Buccaneers beat Bremerton on Feb. 8, 50-46 and finished the season 7-9 in league and 9-11 overall.
“We're definitely going to be there next year,” team co-captain Alexas Besand said of the playoffs. “There are a few teams going to the playoffs that don't deserve to be there.”
While Sequim (finishing 5-11 in league and 7-13 overall) had a tough time with Bremerton, the season finale against the Redskins proved to be a close one.
Down 13-10 at the end of the first period, Sequim put some pressure on to go up 18-17 at halftime behind Besand's 7 points.
However, Codi Hallinan led the Redskins in the third with several blocked shots limiting the Wolves to two points in the third period. Port Townsend led 25-20.
Sequim soared at moments in the final minutes with Colombia Haupt hitting a 3-pointer with 2:40 to go, cutting Port Townsend's lead to 32-27. Things continued to turn the Wolves' way with the Redskins going into the foul penalty with 1:30 to go. But the Wolves failed to stop the clock and grab some key rebounds.
Besand finished Sequim's season by nailing a 3-pointer with a fraction of time left in the 34-30 loss.
The game was Haupt's last as a senior.
“We will miss Columbia a lot,” Still said. “Lately she's been way more aggressive.”
Despite being the only senior, Haupt said earlier this season because she loves basketball and has played since she was 5.
“I wanted to inspire other girls to keep playing,” she said.
She sees a lot of potential with the team now and the incoming junior varsity players.
“(To make the playoffs) it takes teamwork and working on defense,” she said. “It's a cooperation of everyone on the court. Individually everyone is really good but as a team it's coming together.”
Always next year
Sequim improved its record under the first-year coach to win two more games than last year.
“It's been a fun year through the ups and downs,” Still said.
With one of the tallest teams in the Olympic League, he sees a lot of potential but the girls need more experience by playing in the summer and in camps, he said.
He anticipates current JV players Jordan Miller, Kylee Salazar and Judi Villella being some of the up-and-coming talent to help the team deepen its bench more.
Sequim's go-to scorer will remain Besand, he said, because she can score from anywhere.
“She hit two 3-pointers tonight and she can do that consistently from everywhere,” he said.
Besand, a senior next year, said her goal is to work on camaraderie with her teammates while increasing her court awareness.
Co-captain Elise Beuke said she wants the team to have even more unity.
“I want us to be so in sync that a look can communicate what we want to do,” she said.