Lady Vikings are gelling as a team

by Corey Wiscomb

Sounder contributor

The Orcas High School Lady Vikings are finding their footing in a new sporting season, a new system and a new head coach.

Thus far there have been a good variety of games with opponents from much bigger leagues all the way down to even matchups. And so the journey is underway as the team begins anew to define themselves within the league. While there are a few returning players with experience this season, most are all young, and that has a benefit. A new program takes time to adjust to the style and set goals, so young players have that time to absorb the changes and do the work. When asked what the most improved part of his team has been so far this season, Coach Sack replied, “The biggest improvement has been them understanding how the new coach works!”

Orcas had a close game against rival Friday Harbor on Dec. 15. It was an emotional game for the players as you could see their competitive spirit dig in as they battled for the win. Junior Bethany Carter had a solid game, giving the Vikings a balanced effort in scoring, defense, and rebounding. An emerging stat-sheet-stuffer has been Lili Malo. Her aggressive play has greatly benefitted the Vikings as she continually finds her way to the ball to make plays. Unfortunately, the Vikings would see the Wolverines creep away with a 37-33 win in the mostly defensive outing.

Coach Sack knows who his stars are, but also wants to recognize some of his newer players.

“Sera Knapp didn’t even want to play this year. She joined and was not 100% sold on playing, but when I put her in she gives everything she has on the floor and plays to the best of her current ability,” he said. “Lucy is the second for similar reasons. She is an 8th grader and has not been working directly with varsity, so when I pulled her up she did the best she could and always had questions and stayed engaged.”

At this point the Lady Vikings were winless on the season, but that all changed the next evening, Dec. 16, in their first league game against the Concrete Lions. Orcas finally got the offense working, defended more as a team, and the result wound up as a 56-18 conference win. Despite the other losses, this places the girls 1-0 in league play and tied for 1st place in the league.

While battling illness issues as well as the opposing team, Orcas then fell in their next non-league game to Overlake. While the girls have a solid group on the floor, they do not have large numbers on the team and so there are not a lot of reserves ready to go in case of injury, illness or foul trouble. This is one area the team will have to focus on in order to go the distance.

Coach Sack wants to continue to focus on “becoming a team, playing as a team, trusting each other on the court, and trusting the coaches.. after that it’ll be about basketball.”

The next event (weather permitting) will be a 3-day holiday tournament at Mount Vernon Christian school. The outing is a positive way for players to continue bonding over the break while facing some teams that very well may be playoff and or league opponents in the near future.

Corey Wiscomb photo.
Junior Sera Knapp hauls an offensive rebound before putting the ball back up and in for two.

Corey Wiscomb photo. Junior Sera Knapp hauls an offensive rebound before putting the ball back up and in for two.

Corey Wiscomb photo.
Ava Ashcraft elevates against Lion pressure.

Corey Wiscomb photo. Ava Ashcraft elevates against Lion pressure.