“Don’t doubt us,” the sophomore point guard said.
The lack success of Timberline’s girls basketball program is notable at the school. No trips to state and no postseason hardware. Winning seasons have been hard to come by.
The years of mediocrity and suffering from strings of losing seasons can’t be erased, but the players sense this is the turnaround season. The program hasn’t had a winning record since the 2001-02 season, and last year’s 3A district tournament berth was only the third time in 30-plus years the Blazers made it that far. But now in her fifth season, head coach Zandrea Edenstrom has the Blazers headed in the right direction and perhaps on the path toward success.
Since Edenstrom took over in 2005, Timberline’s win total has increased every season. The program has gone from 0-19 in 2005-06 to a 10-12 mark, which included third-place finish in the four-team Class 3A Western Cascade Conference. With three underclassmen in the starting lineup and a lack of varsity experience for many players, it was the classic rebuilding season. Still, they exceeded many expectations. With a 3-6 mark in WCC play, they went on to upset Olympic on the road in a subdistrict game to qualify for the 3A district tournament.
The trip to district was short – a 49-41 loss to Columbia River. They got a small taste of postseason life, but by no means were they satisfied.
Now, with a year of varsity and starting experience, the optimism for Timberline couldn’t be higher.
“Everyone is taking it a lot more seriously,” Weber said. “We know what to expect.”
They have the combination of youth and experience in the starting lineup. Returning are three starters – Weber, a sophomore, and Camille Williams and McKenzie Raben, both juniors.
At 5-foot-11, Weber is the team’s tallest player. She averaged a team-best 14.7 points per game as a freshman – earning second-team all-WCC honors – and has proven difficult to defend for opposing teams because of her height and athleticism.
Weber’s supporting cast includes Williams (8.0 ppg), a shooting guard, and another second-team all-WCC player, and Raben (7.7 ppg), who brings a strong presence in the paint.
It’s no question they like to run. They lack size in the interior, but are a run-and-gun, transition, up-and-down squad. The 5-7 Raben averaged 1.2 blocks per game and Edenstrom said she has gained more strength in the off-season.
The change in attitude of players with participation in more spring, summer and fall basketball leagues has been a difference-maker, with an improvement on how well they play together.
“They have really made it apparent they want to dedicate themselves to committing to do well this year as a team,” Edenstrom said. “They’ve been working really hard on the court.”
Plus, a winning attitude is there, too.
“We’ve always had the talent,” Edenstrom said. “Now, we have the talent and attitude, and that will take us further.”
3A Western Cascade Conference: Girls
1. Capital (15-8 last season)
2. Timberline (10-12)
3. Yelm (17-9)
4. North Thurston (5-15)
Tosha HollingsworthPG5-7Sr. Capital
The reigning WCC MVP averaged 20 points per game and will lead the charge on a young Cougars team.
The Blazers’ leader can score in bunches. The team is poised to make a run for the postseason.
Camille WilliamsG/W5-6Jr. Timberline
The quick, explosive player is part of a 1-2 scoring punch for the Blazers.
Austin SchornoW5-8Sr. Yelm
The Tornados’ flashy wing is the team’s lone all-league returnee from team that played at state.
Smith is the WCC’s best all-around post; can shoot and haul in rebounds.
It’s anyone’s guess who will win the league title in the Western Cascade Conference, although three of the four teams get subdistrict tournament berths. Capital point guard Tosha Hollingsworth, the reigning league MVP, led the league in scoring (20.2 ppg) and also set school records for most points (34) and free throws (17) in a game last season. But her supporting cast is thin, with only four returning players with varsity experience for the Cougars. One of those is Aria Goodman, a second-team all-WCC forward who was second on the team in scoring and rebounding. ... Yelm graduated six seniors from last year’s team, which made the 3A state tournament for the first time since 1991. The Tornados will rely heavily on the team’s lone seniors: wing Austin Schorno (honorable mention all-league) and 6-foot post Katelyn Smith. ... The scoring trifecta of point guard Sasha Weber (14.7 ppg), guard Camille Williams (8.0) and post McKenzie Raben (7.7) has Timberline going in the right direction. The Blazers made the district tournament last season for only the third time in 30-plus years and have improved their win total in each of coach Zandrea Edenstrom’s four previous seasons at the helm. ... North Thurston graduated two first-team all-WCC players in Britanie Lining and Chrissy Wichman, but look for Catie Mets to be the go-to player for the Rams.