On Jan. 11, the Shorewood girls basketball team beat Stanwood 45-37. The Thunderbirds’ victory was impressive because the Spartans entered the game with an undefeated record. The victory also was impressive because Shorewood used just five players.
Going forward, Thunderbirds coach Mark Haner won’t be afraid to ask his starters to play an entire contest if he thinks that’s what’s best for his team. The Thunderbirds’ lack of depth was partially created by the fact they lost two projected starters to injury before the season started.
“We feel that there’s enough of a divide between our varsity and junior-varsity players, and the swingers aren’t getting into games very often right now,” Haner said. “With our (slower) tempo, (the starters) don’t get too tired. This isn’t something that we explicitly planned. It’s presented unique challenges for me as a coach.”
Of course, it helps that one of those five players is Washington State University commit Taryn Shelley, who regularly posts double-doubles. The Thunderbirds (15-2 overall, 7-2 Wesco 3A) have relied on their defense. They’re giving up an average of just 38 points per game.
“Our players have (an understanding of defense) in their DNA,” Haner said. ‘They understand that defense is effort, and that you can’t take plays off, and that you have to work hard to space out an offense.They understand what our identity is. We’ve been doing a good job of holding teams to low shooting percentages.”