Sports

Lady 'Cats face rough schedule, tough start

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There's an old Chinese curse about "living in interesting times." If

the Mount Si Lady Wildcats' basketball schedule is any indication, the

team may face those times sooner than later.

Throw in varsity and JV programs that rely heavily on freshmen

players, and the situation could become really entertaining. However, the

remarkable presence of eight frosh on the two teams bodes well for the Lady

Wildcats' future. The question is, how fast can they come up to speed, and

how well will they handle a tough first half of the season.

"I think we have one of the toughest non-league schedules in the

region," said second-year coach Dirk Hansen during an interview last

Thursday "We play Garfield, Ellensburg _ one of the toughest teams in the

state _ and Kennedy's got a good program. However, we've played three

games and are already 2-1."

The `Cats opened their non-league schedule on Nov. 27 with an

appearance at the Jamboree in Woodinville. Over the following four nights

they downed Cleveland 68-34 and Eastlake 56-48, but fell prey to Kennedy,

losing by a score of 63-48.

As to the schedule, Hansen stressed he's not offering up excuses.

"We expect to win," he commented. "We're looking at

individual participation and don't care how we get into the playoffs; we just want

to get there."

Last year's team did get to the playoffs, starting its run with a

huge 42-38 upset of Mercer Island and 59-57 overtime victory over the

Kennedy Lancers. The `Cats then went dry, dropping games to Seattle Prep

and Holy Names, suffering a 66-35 blowout in the latter contest. Mount Si

finished the season at 16-11 with a 7-4 KingCo 3A record.

One of last year's starters, point guard Stephanie Holt, departed due

to graduation. According to the coach, finding a replacement for her has

been "one tough hole to fill."

"We have two freshmen point guards bringing up the ball and a

freshman post, Nicci Landdeck. She's tough. She's going to be a very

solid player here at Mount Si over the next four years."

To their good fortune, the team can call on a strong corps of

returning starters: seniors Jessii Raisio, a 5-8 dual-purpose guard/forward;

Lindsay Ratcliffe, a 5-8 forward; and junior Moriah Hover, a 5-11 forward.

The top newcomers are sophomore Danielle Teller, a 5-7 forward;

and freshmen Angela Jones, a 5-6 guard; Kristen Travis, a 5-7 forward; and

the 5-9 Landdeck. Hansen said both Landdeck and Jones would start

this year.

Coach Hansen and his assistants _ JV coach John Appelgate and

C-team leader Charlie Kinnune _ are expecting leadership from the older,

more experienced players as a key to getting the squad quickly into shape.

The three ladies have happily accepted the assignment and responsibility.

"We provide encouragement, getting them on the court and

keeping them in the game," said Raisio. "It

can get hard on the court as a freshman."

Ratcliffe agreed, stating, "What's looking good so far is the team is

coming together and playing well together. The freshmen are doing very

well playing at the varsity level.

"The key is helping them to learn what the varsity is all about, and

how fun it is."

"I think we're improving a lot," said Hover. "We're working on a

lot of fundamentals and I feel positive about the season. We might not

win all of the games, but I think we'll do good."

Through it all, Coach Hansen provides a positive outlook and a lot

of hard work. He knows everything will come together in good time.

"The team I have this year probably isn't as skilled as last year's,

but I'm having more fun," he said with a broad smile. "These kids are good

listeners. They are that tough, that gutsy, and they give it all on the court.

"One thing I'm really stressing: We're a young team and we take a

really positive look on everything. We got beat by Kennedy the other

night and we still came out feeling good.

"We just want to keep it close, come out for every game and

play gutsy basketball," Hansen concluded. "These kids are not afraid of

anything."

The `Cats open league play Friday night at Sammamish High

School. Coach Kinnune's "C" team takes

to the court at 3:45 p.m., followed by Coach Appelgate's JVs at 5:45.

The varsity will face off against the Totems at 7:30 p.m.

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