By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
The numbers are building slowly but surely for the Mountlake Terrace girls basketball team.
Last season, the Hawks only had 14 players on the roster in the entire program and often were stretched thin for both the varsity and junior varsity games.
“Our biggest thing is we just need to get more girls out,” Mountlake Terrace coach Dave Brophy said. “Our numbers were our biggest issue. We had 13, 14 playing two games. We survived.”
Sixteen different players participated in Mountlake Terrace’s offseason program, which included two tournaments and the Washington Prep League. The Hawks played about 20 games.
The number of players varied from game to game because individuals had other commitments, but overall Brophy saw progress from his squad, which graduated only one senior from last season.
“We go pretty hard for four or five weeks,” he said. “We had a really good June.”
The two weekend tournaments were tough for Mountlake Terrace because of the team’s lack of depth.
“We just don’t have enough kids to compete over a weekend tournament,” Brophy said. “We’re playing too many schools who show up with eight to 10 girls. They kind of wear us out.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Brophy noted that last season several freshmen and sophomores saw extensive varsity action. Those players are a year older but still will be challenged by going up against teams with juniors and seniors.
Brophy acknowledged that some of the players were on varsity because of the lack of players rather than having worked their way up.
An exception is sophomore guard Samantha Romanowski, who started 20 games her freshman season.
“Sam Romanowski probably for our summer was our team leader,” Brophy said. “She bugs the girls to get in the gym. She plays year-round.”
Romanowski has an improved offensive game and is an exceptional passer and defender, Brophy added.
Also back is senior wing Taylor Smith and junior wing Maddy Kristjanson, who is busy with softball during the summer. Two other key returners are junior wing Nikkie Froehlich and sophomore guard Shalan Pagaling.
When players weren’t with Mountlake Terrace, they often were with their select teams.
“The big thing is our girls are getting better during the offseason,” Brophy said.
Brophy is hoping an increased emphasis on defense will yield better results.
“We want to be more diverse in terms of the defense,” he said. “Because we were so young and inexperienced it was hard to do too much. As our experience gets better, we can start asking the players to do more things.”
Mountlake Terrace’s numbers were boosted by five freshmen, who got their first taste of high school ball.
“They got playing time,” Brophy said. “They met the girls and saw what we’re trying to do.”
Mountlake Terrace finished 2-12 in the Western Conference 3A last season but should be in a better position to move up in the standings. Some of the league’s top players graduated and district rival Lynnwood is moving up to 4A.
“Our team is going to get better,” Brophy said. “Wesco lost a lot of seniors. … We’re going to be on a more level playing field with a lot of those teams.”