New season opens up larger roles for young stars

The bright lights of the gym beat down on the players of the Girl’s basketball team. Head Coach Sara Wetstone was already out of her seat and it was only the first minute of the game. Senior point guard Trinity Cho dribbles the ball down the floor and called out the play, making sure everyone was in their positions. Sophomore Jessica Coacher and Junior Kate Rutledge are their two bigs, who switch between the post and outside the three point line. It was a familiar scene for the Beavers.

This year, Ballard is 5-2 in district play and 7-5 overall. Coming into this season, the team was three starters short after graduating three seniors last year. This has created a new dynamic for the team and left new roles for the returning players to fill. Though, the change in starting lineup hasn’t left the Ballard players discouraged. “It’s hard when you lose big players like that but it just pushes people to step up,” Cho said.

New roster

Cho, the only senior on the team, is one of those players stepping into a larger role for the team after last year’s point guard graduated. “Trinity is our main point guard now and she really stepped up,” Rutledge said. Averaging six points and two assists a game, she has more than contributed to her share of the offense. Completing her abilities as a guard are her array of handles and speed, which she showcases on a regular basis during games. Scoring a season high 14 points at Bainbridge, it’s exciting to think about what else the lone senior has to bring to the table.

Junior Kate Rutledge has played varsity basketball all three years she has been at Ballard. Last year, she emerged as a consistent offense threat for the team after scoring twenty or more points in three games. At 5’11’’, not only can she dive down in the post to get buckets, but she can also extend to outside the three-point line, where she is shooting 39 percent from this season. Rutledge is continuing her trend of offensive prowess, averaging 11.8 points through 12 games. On the other side of the floor, Rutledge is no slacker, coming up with almost two steals a game as well as pulling down and average of 3.6 rebounds every contest. Part of this success, she says, it due to the coaching staff. “I really like all the coaching staff because they just want the best for us.”

Sophomore Jessica Coacher has also been a player taking on a larger role this season. “Jess is a beast. She’s a hustler. She kind of just does everything,” Cho says. After scoring 22 points in the first game of the season against Skyline, Coacher has gone on to average 10.3 points per game, improving from 7.4 points a game her freshman year. Similar to Rutledge, she is a dual offensive threat, scoring with well placed jumpers from the block as well as from outside the arc. Coacher has also improved on the defensive side, grabbing 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game. “My goal is to work really hard all the time because that’s something you can always control,” Coacher said.


Sophomore Madeline Angelos calls a play while running the ball up the floor against Franklin. (Julian Whitworth)

Team bonding

One of the main factors contributing to the team’s success is their exceptional team chemistry. Even being the only senior on the team, Cho doesn’t feel out of place. “I’ve grown really close with all of the underclassmen. The joke is kind of that I’m the mom,” Cho says. The chemistry of the girls outside of their games helps them during their contests. “We get to know each other better and that helps us know each other better on the court too,” Rutledge says.

In addition, the girls team takes time to prepare for every matchup. “Usually we scout the team before either on film or seeing them play,” Coacher says. Similarly, in practice, Ballard sets up their drills based on the tendencies they see in their next matchup. This helps them prepare. Also, immediately before games, the team will have a guest speaker and sing a song together. This year, they sing a song from the Disney movie Moana.This helps the team stay motivated throughout the season and continue to build relationships with one another.


Current Season

This season, in many categories, the Beavers have improved upon or matched many of the stats of last year’s team. “We’re definitely a stronger offensive team this year,” Cho said. So far, Ballard has scored 52.6 points a game and has snagged 32.3 rebounds per game, both of which improve upon last year’s numbers.


Looking forward

With seven of the team’s players being underclassmen, not only is the team looking forward to a strong season this year, but a rewarding future as their new players develop. While Kate Rutledge and Jessica Coacher will be a big part of the team’s future plan, players like freshman Olivia Holman also look to form the team’s base in the future. In her first year with the team, Holman is averaging 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. This includes recording a double-double against Lake Washington, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. It’s young varsity talent like this that gives the Beavers a headstart for years to come. “Since we have a young team I think that we’re going to keep getting better and keep connecting more,” Coacher said.


Source: Talisman

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