GIRLS: Five players to watch

  • Wed Nov 24th, 2010 8:06pm
  • Sports

By Mike Cane Herald Writer

Sydney Donaldson, Edmonds-Woodway | 6-1, Sr., Forward

College plans: Signed with Western Washington.

2009-2010 season recap: Averaged 10.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.0 bpg, 1.2 spg. Named to All-Wesco South second team. Helped Edmonds-Woodway place fifth at the Class 4A state tournament.

2010-2011 season outlook: Part of a talent- and experience-rich team that has its sights set on winning the 4A state title, Donaldson might be the most gifted of the bunch. “The best player on our team is Sydney Donaldson, when she’s on,” E-W coach Duane Hodges said. “When she’s on, she’s one of the best players in the state.” Donaldson has a rare combination of size, athleticism and shooting ability that makes her impossible to ignore on the court. But the challenge for her, Hodges said, is playing up to her potential every time out. “It’s easy being good every once in awhile. What’s hard is being good every day,” Hodges said, paraphrasing a famous Willie Mays quote. “That’s what (Donaldson) has a hard time doing.” “But when she’s good, she’s awesome,” Hodges added. “She runs like a gazelle and she can jump.”

Mokun Fajemisin, Lynnwood | 5-11, Jr., Forward

College plans: Undecided.

2009-2010 season recap: Averaged 13.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 4.0 bpg, 3.0 spg. Named to All-Wesco South first team. Helped Lynnwood advance to Class 3A state tournament.

2010-2011 season outlook: Fajemisin played with the high-profile Seattle-based Tree of Hope AAU team during the high school offseason and appears primed for a huge winter as Lynnwood’s most dynamic player. “She definitely has been putting in her work,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said. “We have been doing conditioning (and) she will definitely be stronger.” Scoring, rebounding, defending — Fajemisin does it all very well. She has good height and long arms but also possesses impressive quickness and strength, Edwards said. At this point, Fajemisin is already extremely effective on the court but is still motivated to enhance her skill set. “Hopefully, with the work she’s been putting in she can just be a more all-around player,” said Edwards. “She’s very dominant inside but it would be nice to have her (contribute) on the perimeter, both on offense and on defense.” Fajemisin is one of six returning varsity players, including four starters, for Lynnwood, which is deeper and quicker this season, Edwards said.

Brooke Pahukoa, Lake Stevens | 5-9, Soph., Guard

College plans: Undecided.

2009-2010 season recap: Averaged 9.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 spg. Named to All-Wesco North second team. Helped Lake Stevens advance to the Class 4A state tournament.

2010-2011 season outlook: Coming off an eye-opening freshman season, the hyper-athletic Pahukoa will have a more prominent role for the Vikings this winter. Last season Pahukoa needed time to learn Lake Stevens’ offensive and defensive schemes. It all clicked around midseason and she erupted. “She picked up things fairly quickly,” Lake Stevens coach Randall Edens said, “and makes up for mistakes with her athleticism. She really came on the second half of the year.” A highly successful three-sport athlete who excels in soccer and track in addition to basketball, Pahukoa primarily came off the bench last season and gave the Vikings a huge spark. Now she will be a starter. Her potential is seemingly limitless, especially if she becomes a better shooter. “She’s got to be able to hit shots from the perimeter,” said Edens. “She’s so explosive off the dribble, but if she’s able to (improve her shooting) I think all the sudden she becomes an unguardable player.”

Suzanna Ohlsen, Monroe | 5-8, Sr., Guard

College plans: Signed with Seattle Pacific.

2009-2010 season recap: Averaged 19.7 ppg, 6.2 spg, 4.6 apg. Named to All-Wesco North first team.

2010-2011 season outlook: Known for her ultra-aggressive mentality with and without the ball, Ohlsen had an outstanding summer. “The one thing that she’s really worked hard on,” Monroe coach Rodney Walker said, “is improving her jump shot, so that’s gotten a lot better.” Ohlsen, who averaged nearly 20 points per game in her stellar junior season, always strives to add new dimensions to her game. “She’s a workaholic. She’s never satisfied,” said Walker. Going into this season, Walker talked to Ohlsen about being more of a leader, providing both physical and vocal guidance for her teammates. Ohlsen, Walker said, needs to concentrate on “not just being the best player on the court, but also saying the things other people aren’t willing to say” to get her speedy, guard-oriented squad to reach its potential. “She needs to put herself out there,” Walker said, “and understand people won’t always like what you say, but it needs to be said.”

Hailey Wales, Darrington | 5-10, Sr., Forward

College plans: Undecided.

2009-2010 season recap: Averaged 16.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.1 spg; recorded seven double-doubles (points and rebounds) and scored at least 10 points in 19 of 24 games. Named Northwest 1A/2B all-league first team for the third straight year. Helped Darrington advance to the Class 2B state tournament.

2010-2011 season outlook: It’s always difficult for an opponent to prepare for Wales because the well-rounded senior makes a huge impact everywhere on the court. “She’s 5-10 and she can play any position. You just don’t find that very often. She could play anywhere from point to post,” Darrington coach Ben Bryson said. A four-year varsity team starter, Wales is one of four returning starters — including Randi Wales, Hailey’s twin sister — from Darrington’s squad that qualified for state. A dedicated team co-captain, Hailey Wales will try to lead the Loggers back to state this winter. Also an all-league volleyball standout, Wales is so smart and focused that she could basically run practice on her own, Bryson said: “All the young kids love to be around her and follow her lead.”