- What can the Rielly sisters do in their last season together?
After a rocky season a year ago the Seagulls rebounded to advance to the district championship game and, in large part, had the Rielly sisters to thank.
This season head coach John Low hopes that momentum can help his team go even further.
"The expectation is hopefully we can come in and continue playing at the level that we ended last season at," Low said. "We know no one is going to give us anything, especially in the north.
Both sisters are capable of lighting up the score sheet on any given night, but both have also proved the ability to take over games. Sidney did it early in the regular season a year ago and again late in the district tournament and Darian did it over a stretch of games Sidney was not in the lineup for in the middle of the season.
"They are both capable of running things and they are both comfortable with the ball in their hands," Low said. "I think another year of experience together and with this group of kids, things just seem to flow."
The 3A district bracket will again be a tough one to advance to state from, but certainly Sidney would like to get to the Tacoma Dome in her final season.
"Every year she just continues to grow as a player and to do things I haven't seen before out of her and maybe even out of other girl players," Low said. "She just plays really hard."
- How good is Stanwood?
The Spartans lost just one player from last year's team in Rachel Swartz, who was one of the better players in the area. Swartz is a significant loss, but a team that made it to the state regional round and lost a heart breaker to Seattle Prep is loaded and has a chance to surpass its finish from a year ago.
"We're very, very experienced," Stanwood head coach Dennis Kloke said. "We don't have any superstars, but the kids play very well together and are very coachable."
Stanwood will begin the season without senior guard Lauren Allison, who missed the entire soccer season with an ACL tear, but Kloke is hopeful she will be able to return sometime late in the basketball season.
Junior post Tristan Murphy is one of the Spartans key returning players and will be a difference maker for them inside.
"She's a good sized post," Kloke said. "I'm sure teams are going to know about her and try to double her. Hopefully we're able to counter that with some productive shooting from the outside."
Murphy and Swartz combined to give the Spartans a dual-threat in the post a season ago.
"Last year teams had to make a decision on how they were going to defend both of them," Kloke said. "In some ways it's a little easier for the opponent to defend a single post, but we now have four people on the perimeter rather than just three."
Though the Spartans will look different without Swartz, the goal remains the same as it is every season.
"Any experienced team like this is going to go in and want to get to state and place in state," Kloke said. "That's ongoing all the years I've coached. When you've got a lot of kids coming back, that's the dream that you have. But you have to work for that dream. It's not just going to happen because you want it to."
The Starting 5: The Herald's Preseason All-League Team
- W Sidney Rielly, Sr., Everett: Perhaps the most potent scorer in Wesco, Rielly returns looking to lead the Seagulls to the Tacoma Dome in her senior season.
- G Darian Rielly, Jr., Everett: If sister Sidney ever has an off-night, Darian is almost certain to pick up the slack.
- P Tristan Murphy, Jr., Stanwood: The junior post will give opposing teams fits inside.
- W Jenika Anglim, Sr., Marysville Pilchuck: One of seven seniors, Anglim provides the Tomahawks versatility on the offensive end.
- P Charlee Pilon, Sr., Marysville Pilchuck: The senior captain will be a leader on a team that hopes to challenge Everett and Stanwood in the north.
The tall but athletic post gives the Tomahawks plenty of options on the offensive end.
"She's a threat when she attacks the hoop and you can't leave her open from the outside because she's an outstanding shooter," Marysville Pilchuck head coach Julie Martin said.
Not only will Martin rely on Anglim for scoring, but she will also rely on her to be one of the team's leaders, something that has improved in the season's opening days.
"I see her developing so much as a leader in the last week and a half," Martin said.
Martin said she hopes the Tomahawks group of returners should make for a special season.
"I see us doing really great things this year," she said. "We have big goals. I see us actually right now achieving those goals."
Martin added that defense will be the key to challenge teams like Everett and Stanwood for the league championship.
"If I can get us in great shape and really get us going on the defensive end of things we're going to give everyone a pretty good game," she said.
Fresh Face: Gabby Grandbois, Fr., Marysville Getchell
The freshman point guard will step in and play immediately for the Chargers as will fellow freshman forward Carley Wika. The two players lead a very talented class that gives Marysville Getchell a bright future.
"Both of them have played the most basketball as pretty much anyone on the team," Grandbois said. "The previous years we've had no AAU experience and no extra experience. Carley and Gabby have played together since sixth grade."
Coach Grandbois said she believes this year's team will be the most skilled team in Marysville Getchell's young history. Her daughter has a chance to come in and run the team's offense.
"Gabby is a really great ball-handler," Grandbois said. "She moves really well off the ball for a point guard and she's very strong. I don't think she has the fear that you would see in a lot of freshman."
That lack of fear is one of the reasons she is a front runner to start for the Chargers.
3. Marysville Pilchuck
4. Oak Harbor
5. Marysville Getchell
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