By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
The Meadowdale girls basketball team is heading into uncharted territory.
For the past two years, the Mavericks’ offense has revolved around one of the league’s top players, Margreet Barhoum.
The Western Conference 3A’s top scorer graduated last spring and is headed to Montana State University. Barhoum leaves behind an experienced team that nevertheless is going to have to find a way to deal with the loss of a guard who provided 22 points per game.
“Meadowdale has been a pretty successful program for a lot of years,” Mavericks coach Troy Parker said. “Kids graduated. It’s the next group’s responsibility to find answers.
“Out of the 12 on varsity, nine are returning. I think they know how to score. They are not going to be intimidated. We’re finding a way to get some stuff done.”
Parker and his team started the process of finding those answers this summer by playing in three tournaments. The Mavericks helped host the Edmonds District tournament and traveled to Oregon City for a huge tournament featuring high school teams. Meadowdale also plans to play in a fall league.
“We had a really productive summer,” Parker said. “We had a light schedule. That’s what we needed this summer. … I thought we made strides in getting better.”
As for the offense, Parker doesn’t expect any particular individual to shoulder the scoring load.
“I don’t think one person is going to step up and get that done,” he said. “Collectively, we will.”
The Wesco 3A saw a talented senior class graduate with teams such as Shorecrest and Glacier Peak losing key players. The Mavericks also lost Katie Rickel and Alisa Sagdahl.
“A lot of talent graduated from our league,” Parker said. “We’ll probably have as much experience as anybody in league.”
Parker was encouraged by the play of junior wing Mackenzie Bretz.
“She probably has as good a summer as anybody,” Parker said. “At times, Mackenzie was dominant.”
Other key players back for the Mavericks include senior point guard Sara Fjoftoft, senior wing Julianne Kossian, senior wing Madison Parker (the coach’s daughter) and senior center Tianna Nugent, who at 5-foot-7 was one of the more undersized posts in the league.
Madison Parker didn’t play a lot as a junior but looks ready for additional minutes next season.
“She’s a good shooter,” coach Parker said. “She shot the ball really consistently.”
Senior wing Alyssa Reuble was busy most of the summer with her select softball team, but she did make it to some of the team practices.
“She’s a really good player,” Parker said.
Another player Parker anticipates having a larger role on varsity is junior guard Kearstin Franco.
Someone who didn’t see a lot of varsity playing time but who could this season is junior guard Jaclyn Barhoum, Margreet’s younger sister. As is the case with younger siblings, Parker expects Jaclyn to carve out her own identity on the team.
“Jaclyn’s a different player,” he said. “She’s a spot-up shooter. The key for younger siblings of successful players is they’ve got to be themselves.”
That’s exactly what Sara Fjoftoft is doing in following older sisters Hanna and Julia, both of whom were standout players for Meadowdale.
Meadowdale again will be undersized against many teams but junior center Ndey Sonko (6-0) should help the Mavericks’ inside game and defense. This is her third year on varsity.
“We’re not very big or tall inside, but she’s a very solid post presence,” Parker said. “We’re going to have a shot blocker.”