Each year, with input from local coaches, The Olympian selects its All-Area girls basketball team.
This year, seven high schools from Thurston County and surrounding areas are represented by players and coaches selected to the All-Area first and second teams.
The 12 spots, broken down by leagues, are 4A South Puget Sound League (one), 3A South Sound Conference (three), 2A Evergreen Conference (five) and 1A Evergreen Conference (three).
All statistics listed are final through the 2017-18 season. All portraits taken by staff photographer Joshua Bessex.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Guard, 5-2, senior
Wenatchee Valley commit was the motor that kept the top-ranked Bearcats running all the way to a 2A state title. Steen, W.F. West’s reliable point guard, led the team in assists (3.8 per game) and often caused turnovers the Bearcats converted into points at the other end, adding 2.4 steals. The 2A EvCo co-MVP chipped in 12.3 points per game, and was a big reason why W.F. West didn’t lose a game in classification this season.
What coach Tom Kelly says: “She’s the heart and soul of the team. For the last three year, she’s been a defensive anchor, and she’s the point guard, so she has to line things up. She’s the field general out there, directing traffic, and does it in a good way. She’s a good leader.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
17th season, 20-3 record this season, 1A Evergreen Conference co-champions
The biggest accomplishment this season for the 1A Evergreen coach of the year? Breaking down Montesano’s stronghold over the league. The Eagles opened the season on a 14-game winning streak, and won 19 of their 20 regular-season games. The biggest win came over the Bulldogs in January, when Elma ended their 53-game league winning streak to earn the No. 1 seed into districts. Elma played for a 1A Southwest District title, but its season ended one game short of the state playoffs.
Guard, 5-7, junior
Brooks broke Timberline’s single-game scoring record with a 34-point performance — including seven 3-pointers — against crosstown rival North Thurston in January. Brooks averaged a team-high 14 points for the Blazers this season. The 3A SSC first-team selection shot 35 percent from the perimeter, and added 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game to lead Timberline to within one win of the state playoffs.
What coach Tim Borchardt says: “The example she sets for coachability is very important. How she and I interact is what makes her special. She will take criticism and say, ‘Yes, coach.’ Her leadership in that aspect is huge. Outside of that, she does so much. Not only does she score, she does a little bit of everything, and that’s what makes her valuable. Building on that for next year is going to be huge.”
Forward, 6-3, junior
W.F. West’s standout post continues to expand her game. For the second straight season, the 2A EvCo first-teamer and two-time Olympian All-Area selection nearly averaged a double-double, leading the Bearcats in scoring (12.6 points per game), rebounding (8.7) and blocks (1.4). Her inside presence helped the Bearcats win all but two games this season, and build an average margin of victory of 37.6 points. Chipped in on W.F. West’s state-title team in other ways, too, adding 2.1 assists, 1.9 steals per game.
What coach Tom Kelly says: “With Erika, she adds rebounding — a lot of those — and she’s also a shot-blocker. If we’re playing zone, she plays in the middle of the zone. She’s fast and she can close out on wings really well. She also triggers the fast break, and is usually the one that takes the ball out.”
Guard, 5-5, senior
Johnson was one of three players on W.F. West’s balanced state-title team to score in double figures, averaging 10.8 points per game. She wreaked havoc on opposing teams defensively, leading the Bearcats with 2.7 steals per game, and converting many of her 291 total points on fast breaks she helped create. The 2A EvCo co-MVP and two-time Olympian All-Area selection added another 2.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
What coach Tom Kelly says: “Julia runs the right lane for us, so Kiara (Steen) is usually chucking it up to her. If we get a fast break, things start with Julia. And her defense is second-to-none. The fight in Julia, there’s nothing like it. If the game is on the line, you want that girl in there.”
Forward, 6-0, junior
Did just about everything for an Eagles team that returns its entire roster next season. Johnston, the 1A Evergreen MVP, averaged 9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for Elma as a sturdy presence in the paint. And she added more than that, chipping in 2.8 assists, 2.2 steals per game to lead the Eagles to the 1A Southwest District title game, and within one win of the state playoffs.
What coach Lisa Johnson says: “I think for her, she’s a captain and does all of the little things for us on the court. I like to say she’s our glue, with her maturity and solid value she brings to the court.”
Guard, 5-7, senior
Became the second Black Hills player in two years to finish her career with more than 1,000 points, and led the Wolves to a fourth-place finish in 2A averaging 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3 assists per game. The veteran point guard, and 2A EvCo first-teamer, kept Black Hills on pace for much of the season with star forward Maisy Williams out with an injury. The Wolves won state-tournament trophies the past three seasons with Nurmi running the offense.
What coach Tanya Greenfield says: “Lindsey has been a part of Black Hills girls basketball way before entering our gym, and has embraced the culture of the program from the first day she stepped into the gym to the last. Lindsey is a special teammate to her team and the dynamic type of player every coach thrives to mentor and coach. Her love of the game and consistent work ethic is a coach's dream.”
Emily Church, Olympia, jr.
Brooklyn Harn, North Thurston, jr.
Keshara Romain, Timberline, sr.
Kaylee Schow, Tenino, jr.
Maisy Williams, Black Hills, jr.