Veteran squad has shot at top spot

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats girls basketball team this season boasts a veteran cast. Of the ten varsity players, there are six seniors and four juniors. Coach Dirk Hansen is looking for big things from this group.

"We have a veteran squad that we're excited about. They're a tight group. They played a lot of basketball and they've invested a lot into this program, a lot of time and energy into this program. That's saying a lot for kids these days because, as you know, kids could go in all sorts of different directions. There is a lot of things for kids to do these days and these girls have chosen to commit to this program, and that's something the coaching staff really appreciates," Hansen said.

The team finished 14-9 last season, losing in the first round of the SeaKing Tournament to a very tough Bishop Blanchet team. Returning seniors Whitney Beyerlin and Rachel Travis will lead the Wildcats. Travis is thinking quite big: a trip to state. Her rationale is simple.

"I was completely surprised this year when try outs came around. We seemed to just get everything right off the bat. We seem focused and everybody's getting along. We're working as a team," she said.

Joining Travis and Beyerlin in a grizzled senior class are Marie Will, Shannon Posey, Kaycee Crossan, and varsity newcomer Amy Brevick, whose sister, Karin, was a very successful center for the Wildcats the past couple of seasons, and is now rowing at Washington State University.

The junior class is not too bad either. Leading this group is a player totally new to not just the Wildcats, but to the state as well. Her name is Tori Ewing, and if her numbers from last season are any indication, Ewing may be a very important piece to the Wildcats success this season. Ewing comes to Mount Si from Elk Grove, Calif., outside Sacramento. While she only pocketed an average of 5.4 points per game last season, she averaged 2.8 offensive rebounds a game for a total of 73, second-highest on the Elk Grove squad. She also contributes a scrappy defensive game, something which showed up during the Wildcats Nov. 27 season opener against Bothell. The transition for Ewing has been very smooth. Ewing was described by Hansen as "a welcome addition," and "well-received by her teammates."

Ewing, a forward, hopes to provide a lot to the Wildcats attack.

"Hope to add excitement, energy, get that spark on the court," she said.

Joining Ewing in the great group of juniors are Nicole Remish, and the Eddings sisters, Tara and Chelsea.

The Kingco 3A Conference is expected, as always, to be a tough test. Hansen isn't thinking expectations, yet.

"We're not even discussing outcome goals this year. Our goals for this team are effort goals. And we're not even touching on outcome goals. That puts a lot of pressure on kids, and we want this team to play loose and have fun all year," Hansen said.

Hansen also stressed defense this year.

"If we can play consistent defense throughout the year, we'll be one of the top teams. Every night we go out and play it's going to be a battle and I feel that we have the strength and the skill to compete with Issaquah, and Newport, and Bellevue, and Liberty. I think we have what it takes to do that.

"Now whether or not we can go out and execute every night, that's yet to be seen, but right now we've had great efforts in practice. As long as we go out and give the very best effort that we can every night, we're going to have an exciting brand of basketball just like we always do. We're going to get out and run, we're going to play good defense and we're going to get up in your face. One thing that we are striving for this year is having consistency on defense," Hansen said.

Beyerlin expects a lot from her new teammate, Ewing, as well.

"I think she's going to give us a lot of depth under the basket and around the basket because she's a solid post player and she adds some bulk to our team. We're all pretty short and small, but even though she's short, she's pretty strong. She'll be able to grab the rebounds and give the other posts a good game," said Beyerlin.

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