On the walls of the Mountlake Terrace High School gymnasium hang reminders of successful seasons of past Hawk sports teams. League, district and state championship teams are noted with ceremonial plaques, of which there are few for the MTHS girls basketball program.
First-year head coach Zach Wilde is using that thin list of past girls basketball accomplishments as motivation for his 2013-2014 squad.
“I looked up and pointed to the wall and told the girls there hasn’t been a plaque put up since 1980,” Wilde said. “If you work hard enough, you could be the team to change that.”
This year’s Terrace girls basketball team begins its quest for recognition on Wednesday, Dec. 4, with a 7:15 p.m. game at Cascade High School against the Bruins. The Hawks open their home schedule the next night when they face the Sultan Turks at Mountlake Terrace High School, also at 7:15 p.m.
Despite winning just seven games last season, expectations run high this year as the team returns a number of starters, including last year’s team leader in scoring Samantha Romanowski. “Samantha is going to be our top dog and someone we rely on a lot throughout the season,” Wilde said. “She is one of the best players around here. Her playing days will not end at Terrace.”
Other returnees for the Hawks include Maddy Kristjanson and Nikki Froehlich. “Maddy is a great athlete and could play multiple sports in college and will have a big impact for our team. Nikki is a strong competitor and a great basketball player,” Wilde stated.
Others returning to this year’s team are Riley Zucker, Kirsty Dale, Kenzie Zehrung and Shaian Pagaling. While Wilde has high expectations for all those coming back to the team, he sees Pagaling as one that might surprise people with her play.
Shaian is someone most might not know as she is one of the quietest players we have,” he explained. “However she will not be so quite on the court this season. She may be the X factor that takes this team up one level and makes the season one to remember.”
Less than two years after finishing his college career playing basketball at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, and after just one year as an assistant coach at Shorecrest High School, Wilde now finds himself in a head coaching role at Terrace, a position he is enjoying tremendously right now.
“I think I might be more excited about going into this season than a few of my playing years,” he said. “The group of girls we have, you couldn’t ask for anyone better. Being a new coach they have accepted the challenges of that and embraced it every day. Every day they make it more and more exciting to come in and work hard. There is something pretty special about these girls.”
Could that “something special” lead to something Terrace girls basketball hasn’t seen much of over the past few years — postseason play? Wilde thinks so. He is telling his team that they have the ability and the control to dictate when their season ends.
“Last year Terrace girls were one of, if not the hottest team in Wesco toward the end of the season. If we can come out of the gate right away, there should be high hopes for this team,” Wilde said.
“We have talent to do big things,” he added.
You can view the entire MTHS girls basketball schedule for 2013-2014 here.
— By Doug Petrowski