Last month coaches got a better feel for what their squads will look like when they wrapped up spring practice.
The spring sessions presented new challenges for the Class 2A Wildcats of Archbishop Murphy High School. Archbishop Murphy coach Terry Ennis opted to shake things up. Instead of taking his players to a summer camp, as in past seasons, he set up scrimmages with two high-powered 3A programs, Bellevue and Kennedy of Burien.
Bellevue beat Kennedy in the 2006 3A state championship game and has won five state titles in six years.
Murphy coaches and players entered the scrimmages with "a little anxiety," Ennis said. "We thought we had bitten off a little more than we could chew."
But it turned out to be a constructive experience.
"I think we were all pretty pleased with what we got done," Ennis said. "It wasn't real overly competitive or intense and we weren't keeping score or anything."
Still, the experience could prove extremely valuable for Murphy, which was 11-1 in 2006. Its only loss was against Prosser in the 2A state quarterfinals.
"Obviously for us, it was a big deal with (high-level opponents) and we really just wanted to kind of hang in there physically with everybody," Ennis said.
Sultan hires girls basketball coach: Rodney Walker is no stranger to the Sultan High girls basketball team. Last season Walker went from being a Sultan assistant to becoming interim head coach for the final month of the season after previous coach Scott Dillinger resigned.
Now officially Sultan's head coach, Walker hopes to help the Turks improve on their 3-18 2006-2007 season. Based on the results of several spring and summer league games, Walker, 42, is encouraged.
"We're better than we were last year already," said Walker, a first-time head girls hoops coach who previously was an assistant in football, baseball and boys basketball at Cascade.
Sultan returns three starters and added guard Megan Drawsky, a transfer from Monroe. Walker, who was born and raised in Annapolis, Md., said the Turks have solid talent but must fine-tune everything.
"There's a lot of athletic ability," said Walker, "but the basketball skill isn't where it needs to be. ... But they're working on it and the girls are enthusiastic."
New girls hoops coach at Shorewood, too: Nina Lowe was hired last month as head girls basketball coach at Shorewood. Lowe, a first-time head coach, replaces Jeff Bernhardt, who resigned in May after three seasons to take a coaching job at Hazen of Renton. Lowe is a 2000 Shorewood graduate who played on four state-tournament teams, including the Thunderbirds' 1998 3A state-championship squad.
King's center picks WSU: Charlie Enquist, a 6-10 center from King's, accepted last month a full-ride basketball scholarship from Washington State University. Enquist lives in Edmonds.
"We really feel Charlie has a lot of potential. He has a lot of room for growth. There aren't that many 6-10 players around in the Pacific Northwest," WSU assistant coach Ben Johnson said.
Enquist broke his shooting wrist in March during the bi-district playoffs and missed the 1A state tourney but is now healthy. The Cougars plan to have Enquist redshirt his freshman year to refine his skills and add weight, Johnson said.
Tony Dondero of The Enterprise contributed to this report.
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