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Cedarcrest girls headed in the right direction
DUVALL The Cedarcrest girls basketball team is well on its way
to fulfilling coach Mark Hillestad's goal of qualifying for the KingCo 3A
tournament for the first time in school history.
Last season the girl Red Wolves posted a 1-12 record.
However, Hillestad is confident that an influx of freshmen talent and his core group
of returning starters are enough to push his team to the next level.
The season started off well with a convincing victory over
Ingraham. Last week the Wolves dropped their league opener in a one-point loss
to Interlake, 49-48.
"We should be 2-0," said Hillestad with a sigh. "They finished the
game with five seniors on the floor. We only had one."
The Wolves played the entire game without point guard Heather
Sherfey. The four-year starter had an upset stomach and couldn't make it out
of the locker room to answer the buzzer.
This year's squad has the deepest pool of talent in Hillestad's four
years as head coach. Cedarcrest will be led this season by the backcourt
combo of junior Sarah Gustat and 5-7 senior Sherfey. The senior point guard
has been a starter all four year for Hillestad.
Five-foot, five-inch guard junior Libbye Haddon will be counted on
to add depth at the guard position.
In the front court, 6-0 senior Erin Townsend will get the majority
of minutes at the post. She will be flanked by forwards Lindsay Peterson
(5-8) and Melanie Kleuberg, a 5-9 junior. Both Townsend and Gustat are
starting for the third year in a row.
New blood for the Red Wolves will be provided by a pair of juniors
5-10 center Amber Sutter and 5-7 forward Candice Sheperd. Hillestad
has high hopes for 5-7 freshman guard Anjuli Brady. Sophomore Rachel
Salz will share time at center.
"This is the best starting five I've had in my four years at
Cedarcrest," said Hillestad. "This team is
much more athletic so I've been able to add a few new wrinkles to our game."
Cedarcrest has the smallest student body among its KingCo rivals,
so Hillestad hopes that his patience is rewarded this season with a
winning season and a trip to the league tournament. Pre-season polls had the
Wolves remaining among the league's cellar-dwellers.
Hillestad is aware that KingCo foe Bellevue has been rated among the
top four teams in the state. He predicted a four-way battle among the balance
of the Valley Division for the final spot in the playoffs. His goal is as many
as six wins in the conference.
Last year's team shot only 19 percent from the field, and Hillestad
said he will need to see more balls fall for the Red Wolves if they hope to
reach the playoffs.
Peterson led all scorers in the league opener against Interlake,
scoring 14 points to top both teams. The Wolves trailed by only a single
basket at halftime, but took control in the second half by outscoring the Saints
to take a three-point advantage going into the final eight minutes of
action. But Interlake outscored the Cedarcrest girls by four points in the fourth
quarter to grab the narrow victory.
Cedarcrest played at Skyline on Tuesday after the Record went to
press and is scheduled to take on Sammamish Friday night in
Bellevue. The Wolves will play only one more non-league game before leaving for
a four-day road trip to Southern California between Christmas and
"After all these years of getting beat by 40 points, this team
deserves a reward," said Hillestad. "We
will (hopefully) be playing in the warmth and sunshine of Costa Mesa down
in Orange County."
Cedarcrest will resume KingCo play in the year 2000 on Jan. 5 in
a home contest against Liberty. The Wolves will then travel to
Snoqualmie to play cross-Valley rival Mount Si on Jan. 7. The Wildcat girls will
return the favor when they pay a visit to the hilltop campus in Duvall on the
If all goes according to plan, the Red Wolves will open KingCo
tournament play on Feb. 8. A new league champion will be crowned on Feb.
12. The state tournament will be played the first week of March at the
Mercer and Key arenas in Seattle.