Grays Harbor women’s basketball had its ups and downs last season, but the squad is returning a few players as they take aim at the rest of the Northwest Athletic Conference.
Last year’s Chokers ended up going 5-5 in conference and showed flashes of promise on their way to an overall record of 10-11.
Grays Harbor opens its season Friday at the Yakima Valley Tipoff Classic.
The Chokers have a small roster to start the season, but reinforcements may soon be on the way. Grays Harbor head coach Chad Allan said they are expecting Brooklynn Graham to join the team at the conclusion of the volleyball season.
The Chokers are also in the process of adding two more transfers, one of which is a player from Australia.
With those players possibly not coming on until just before the start of the conference schedule, Allan said he is looking forward to working with the group he has now.
“We’re expecting a few more but we really don’t need more,” he said. “We’ll make things work as it is but it’s going to be nice to have a little more depth. We’re bringing in people that are going to be great pieces to aid what we’re going to be doing. It’s not like we’re waiting for that all-league player to come in and mix”
The Chokers are looking forward to having a few more bodies in practice, but the team looks to benefit from its four returning sophomores.
Traditionally, the Chokers have not been able to rely on second-year players returning to the program, but Allan said he expects the younger players to benefit from having some experience on the roster.
“I expect them to bring big leadership,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve had more than one returning sophomore,” he said. “Not only is it huge having sophomores, but they did a good job last year as freshman. They add a lot of confidence to the young girls.”
Alexia Thrower, Estelle Wilson, Angela Sikora and Katie Brisbios are the sophomores that will be relied on to help guide the five freshman currently on the roster and any transfers that may join the squad later in the season.
Though recruiting local talent has been an issue for the Chokers, Hoquiam alum Isabel Hernandez will also be looking to earn playing time as a freshman.
With a lack of size and height on the roster, this year’s Chokers team is looking to push the pace and get shots in transition.
Recent practices have focused on defensive rotations and stopping the ball, but the Chokers have already shown to be comfortable in the offensive sets.
Allan said he would like his team to allow less than 60 points a game and wants to focus on not turning the ball over.
“We’re set up for transition basketball and in order to be good at transition basketball you have to be good at defense,” he said. “We have some things we have to work on, but our defense is what’s going to aid us at the end. Our offense will take care of itself. We’ll have good and bad days, but we have a lot of fire power.”
The Chokers are still trying to figure out who will be getting the lion’s share of minutes but Allan is not worried about the team hitting its stride in the early portion of the schedule.
He said he is putting an emphasis on learning in the first two moths of the season.
“We break it up into three seasons,” he said. “Our preseason is about learning. Our league, when it starts in January, is when we want everybody healthy and want everybody to know what we’re doing. That’s what gets you to that third part of the year, that postseason. Anything up until January is just learning.”