Teams shooting for the playoffs


Associate editor

The Jefferson High girls basketball team made it to the state tournament last season, but since then has graduated two of the best players in school history: Jessiye Clark and Michelle Morse. Clark holds every school record for assists and 3-pointers, while Morse holds every record for points and the career record for most steals.

“After losing great players, these guys are coming out of the shadows and finding themselves,” Jefferson coach Mike Grady said. “They’re getting up to varsity speed, but we’ll be in good shape.”

The Raiders lost four starters from last year’s team that featured eight seniors, but return three players with height who form the core of this year’s team.

Chelsea Hunt is a 5-foot-9 senior who has the school record with most rebounds in a game, Kezia Long is a 6-foot-1 senior and Kristin Woller is a 5-foot-10 wing.

Adding to this year’s team are seniors who excelled on the junior varsity team, helping it to a 35-5 record the past two seasons.

“They would have been varsity players at any other school last year,” Grady said.

Ashley Marolf is a senior wing who has a nice shooting touch from the outside, Erin Grady, Mike’s daughter, is a senior guard, and Kim Brown is a senior post.

“We’ve had such a good team,” Marolf said. “It’s like a family. The previous players teach the others, then move on.”

Kalei Frank is a sophomore who will contribute right away at the guard position. Other newcomers off the JV team include junior Tricell Waldo, junior Katie Schultz, junior Jasmine Tilmon and junior Lindsay Radford.

With recent success in the playoffs, the Raiders are trying to continue the winning tradition.

Like Jefferson, the Decatur girls basketball team is looking to replace talented graduated seniors, but the Gators have players who gained varsity experience last season.

“We have good senior leadership and a number of kids who have seen significant minutes on the court,” Decatur coach Colby Rogers said.

Senior Jennifer Morrow, a 5-foot-11 forward/guard, and junior Kamrica Ary-Turner, a 5-foot-10 senior forward/ guard, are both versatile players who will do most of the scoring for the Gators this season.

Senior guard Janey Yu and junior guard Christine Kim both played varsity last year, as did junior guard Nicole Collins.

Decatur will be helped by newcomers, including junior forward Amanda Font, sophomore guard Brittany Bennett and sophomore forward/guard Leana Pomeroy.

With the playoff experience Decatur earned last season, the team is expecting to build on that and return to the post season this year.

“This group is working very hard and well together,” Rogers said. “We are excited.”

The Federal Way girls basketball team is trying to build on last year’s record.

“We’ll have to improve our offensive production, but our defense will always be strong,” Federal Way coach Karin Weberg said. “We have to be able to execute and score.”

One of Federal Way’s best players, 6-foot senior forward Leta Johnson, is out until after Christmas because she is having surgery.

The Eagles return starters in senior guard Ashley Dukehart, senior guard Danielle Yellam and senior forward Nina Kupu. Junior forward Shelby Avaava also has varsity experience.

Newcomers contributing include senior guard Heather Daugherty, sophomore guard Chelsea White and senior forward Monique Hildebrandt.

Others new to the varsity team are senior forward Amanda Ausink, junior guard Whitney Goff and junior forward Natalie Smith.

“We expect to compete in every game and be able to say we left it all out there on the floor,” Weberg said. “I think that will translate into some wins.”

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