Normally a coach has an entire off-season to prepare his team for competition; the new girls basketball coach at Mountlake Terrace High School will have had about two weeks before he leads his squad onto the court for tournament play.
Zach Wilde was named the Hawks new girls coach late last month and has hit the ground running in an attempt to get his squad ready for the 48-team Edmonds Summer Shootout that begins Friday night, June 7, and continues through the weekend.
Most recently, Wilde had been an assistant at Shorecrest High School and coached the JV team there last season. For Wilde, that has been the extent of his coaching career as the 23-year-old isn’t that far removed from his college playing days. After one year at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Ore., Wilde spent three years playing at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, ending in 2012.
With just one year coaching a JV squad, Wilde realizes some may question his readiness to lead a high school program; “But I have always been a studier of the game, and I have so much knowledge to pass on,” Wilde said.
“But I still have an entire lifetime of basketball to learn,” he added.
As for the current Hawks squad, Wilde is already impressed with what he has seen. “These girls already are showing how dedicated they are, how much they want to learn, and how hard they are willing to work,” Wilde said after just a few practices.
The team returns key starters Samantha Romanowski, Nikkie Froehlich and Maddy Kristjanson from a 2012-2013 squad that finished the season with a 7-12 record. But Wilde is already looking forward to next year. “I am just overly excited for what has already happened,” he said. “The countdown until November is already on.”
The first test for Wilde and the Hawks will be the Summer Shootout tourney, a tournament that has grown to become the largest high school basketball tournament in the state. A total of 48 varsity teams and 32 JV teams will play 171 games over three days starting on Friday. The varsity field includes Arlington, the 4A state runner-up from last season, and Lake Stevens and Inglemoor, fifth- and sixth-place finishers from the 4A tournament. All four Edmonds School District schools are in the Shootout, along with all of Terrace’s Wesco South conference rivals.
Schools are coming from as far away as Ellensburg and Yakima to play in the Shootout.
“It is a big weekend for us,” Wilde said. “It is a chance to play, and a fundraiser for our program.” Games at Mountlake Terrace High School begin with a MTHS-Issaquah match-up at 6:30 p.m., followed by a game pitting Kamiak against Inglemoor on Friday.
Wilde wants his Hawks to do well in the Shootout, but is also looking at the long range picture. “As much as we want to win every game and win this tournament, this summer is all about playing, playing, playing,” Wilde explained, “(and) getting to learn our system, my style and each other as a group.”
If the team loses a game or two during the Shootout, Wilde won’t be concerned. “I would rather lose in June than in late January,” he answered.
Terrace, and each varsity team in the Shootout, is guaranteed four games over the weekend. You can see the complete schedule here. The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at Meadowdale High School.
Admission at any of the Shootout game sites this weekend is $5 for adults, $2 for students age 7-18, and free for children 6 and under.