Knights rebuilding around solid core of returners

Junior Beirne takes over at point guard
By David Pan | Jun 28, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Junior Hunter Beirne will assume the point guard duties for Kamiak. Beirne saw plenty of action during her sophomore season.

The Kamiak girls basketball team has been working hard since the end of May.

In addition to practices, the Knights have played in tournaments each week and just finished up their tournament schedule at King’s High School last weekend.

“The summer’s been going pretty good,” Kamiak coach Brian Norman said. “It feels like we never stopped.”

The Knights are coming off back-to-back state regional appearances, but the core of those teams – seven seniors – graduated earlier this month. Among the players Kamiak has to replace are its leading scorer, point guard and best defender.

Norman hopes that the winning tradition established by this year’s senior class will continue with next year’s players.

“We lost a lot of court minutes,” Norman said.

Kamiak will build its team around three returning seniors – Karsen Alexander, Alex Gallaher and Carolyn Brunner – along with junior Hunter Beirne, who was the backup point guard last season and is expected to be the Knights’ floor general.

“She’s stepped up nicely this summer,” Norman said of Beirne. “She’s a tough player, tough-minded. She can shoot the ball. She can distribute. She can rebound. Aliea (Marrero) was a good role model. Hunter has a little more size and is probably a little stronger.”

Norman said that he gives a lot of leeway to his point guard in terms of calling out plays and setting up the floor.

Beirne was a leader on defense during her sophomore season.

“She played hard-nosed defense,” Norman said. “I’m looking forward to her continuing to get better.”

The three returning seniors also have played well this summer and Norman expects all three to assume much of the scoring load next season.

Gallagher saw signficant action as a junior and next season will be her third year on varsity. Alexander is a strong defender, who also can put up the points, Norman said.

Brunner at 5-foot-10 will be the Knights’ tallest player and will be relied on to crash the boards.

Norman isn’t concerned about wins and losses during the offseason. The goal, he said, is to “just build some teamwork and make sure the girls are in it for each other and not for themselves.”

The Kamiak coach said the Knights played especially well at a recent tournament in Mount Vernon.

Norman was impressed by the way Kamiak moved the ball around.

“We defended a little more. We were talking on defense,” he said. “We were just playing better team ball. That leads to more successful outcomes.”

Kamiak went 4-1 at the King’s tournament, beating Lake Washington, Issaquah, Meadowdale and Bellevue. The loss was to tournament runner-up Lake Stevens.

Kamiak will be a much younger team with a number of sophomores expected to move up to varsity.

Sophomore Ashley Gray has stood out this summer with her energy on offense and defense.

“She’s a good rebounder and a good finisher around the basket,” Norman said.

Sophomore Brooke Erlandsen, a 5-10 post, could give the Knights some much needed height.

“She’s a really coachable kid, who wants to learn and get better,” Norman said.

Sophomore Margaux Manalo played a lot of point guard for the junior varsity team.

Kamiak wraps up its summer activities with a team camp on July 16-20 at Western Washington University.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.