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Hard-working Federal Way looking to make some noise
By CASEY OLSON
The Federal Way girls basketball team is hoping to take another step forward during the 2005-06 season. The Eagles finished last year as the sixth-place team in the South Puget Sound League South Division one spot back of the final postseason berth from the league.
The girls have terrific team chemistry and are willing to work tremendously hard, said eighth-year coach Karin Weberg.
Federal Way returns a bulk of their lineup from a year ago, including first-team All-SPSL South wing Salena Dickerson, and should compete with the elite squads in the 10-team league. The Eagles proved that in their first game of the season Tuesday when they downed defending SPSL South champion Bethel, 58-47. Dickerson tallied a career-high 30 points.
As a junior, Dickerson was among the league leaders in several categories. The 5-foot-10 wing led the SPSL South in scoring at 15.9 points a game, but also led the Eagles with nine rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 2.1 steals a game.
Federal Way also returns seniors Jenna Warren and Gillian Griffin and junior Rita Helmbrecht. Warren scored 13 points against Puyallup.
These girls have been very rewarding to work with, said Weberg. They share the same vision for their season and for their daily approach to basketball and to life.
The Eagles did lose both of their starting guards from a season ago with the graduation of Brittany Bennett (8.4 points, 6.2 rebounds) and Chelsea White (7.1 points, 2.3 assists). But Weberg will be counting on junior Bree Rowe and several newcomers, including Ashanti Simmons, Cayla Dixon, Ivanca Frerichs and Kaitlyn Keyes, to fill in at the guard position.
We are well-balanced with talented players at every position, Weberg said. On the other hand, some of our players have limited varsity experience.
The race for the SPSL South championship looks to be wide open this year. The Bethel Braves finished last season with a perfect 18-0 record, but lost a bulk of their team to graduation and were beaten by Federal Way Tuesday. Puyallup looks like the team to beat, on paper. The Vikings are led by Danika Lawson and return several players.
Things are on the rise within the Thomas Jefferson girls basketball program. Jerry Krueger is entering his third season as coach and endured a 1-19 year in 2003-04 and improved to 9-11 last season.
The coach is hoping things get even better during the 2005-06 season.
We have a wonderful group of young ladies who are working very hard to get the Raiders back into the playoffs, Krueger said.
Jefferson played in back-to-back Class 4A State Tournaments in 2002 and 2003 under current TJ athletic director Mike Grady before suffering through the two losing seasons. Krueger is hoping this is the season the Raiders get back into the playoff hunt. The top-five teams from the SPSL South advance into the league tournament.
The Raiders will miss the steady play of guard Kalei Frank from a year