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Middle school girls' hoops teams had great season

Divide and conquer is usually a winning strategy.

But it didn't work this past winter for foes of the La Conner Middle School girls' basketball program, which split into two teams and collectively won 18 of 20 contests with one squad going undefeated in its 10 games.

Coaches Joel Hingston and Ryan Pino weren't surprised at that level of success.

"This is a very good group," Hingston, who teaches Spanish at La Conner Schools and works summers as a hornet hive remover, told the Weekly News. "They're playing a lot of sports and really competing."

The La Conner teams created quite a buzz with a swarming defense that forced turnovers and led to repeated scores in transition.

The unbeaten team, whose roster featured Reese Bird, Sophia Edwards, Finley Hancock, Faith Jenkins, Kiana Jenkins, Jacqueline Lam, Nora McCormick, Madison Miller, Abigail Poulton, Kim Williams and Aisley Zimmerman, held opponents to about 15 points per game while scoring more than 40 themselves.

"We have some really good shooters and they move the ball well," Hingston said. "They're very patient and with the other teams playing zone defenses, they eventually got the ball to who was open."

Mount Vernon Christian and Orcas Island were the toughest teams on the schedule.

Defensive pressure was the deciding factor for La Conner in those matchups, with one of the tests with MVC ending up a relatively tight single-digit affair.

"They did a really good job," stressed Hingston, a Washington State University alum and a Tri-Cities native. "It's a very athletic group. We pressed a lot and their transition offense was awesome to see."

The same can be said of the team that finished with a solid 8-2 mark.

Claire Avery, Maicy Bowles, Kellie Cayou-Lockrem, Olive Clinger, Mia Delage, Helen Joe, Isla Jones, Annika Keith, Jozlynn Lapointe, Julia Nelson and Tori Wilbur combined to sweep three two-game series and split a pair of two-game sets in league play.

Hingston said these players improved throughout the season with their team defense.

"They have great spatial awareness," said Hingston, who anticipates further improvement and player development.

"They are playing a lot of basketball and a lot of other sports, too – volleyball, track and soccer – so they're very active," he said.

And one more thing, Hingston insisted.

"These players," he stressed, "are very coachable."


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