Archbishop Murphy focuses on improvement | Girls basketball

By David Pan | Aug 21, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Archbishop Murphy’s Olivia Riojas attempts a lay-up during a scrimmage against Lynden Christian.

Archbishop Murphy’s girls basketball team had a luxury this offseason that few teams could match.

The Wildcats returned virtually their entire roster from a team that advanced to the 2A state tournament.

Archbishop Murphy played in a summer league that was held at its own gym, hosted scrimmages and practices and finished its offseason with a team camp in Oregon.

“This summer we were trying to tweak some of the stuff we did during the season,” Wildcats coach Cassie Snyder said. “We’re just trying to get better as a group.”

Junior-to-be guard/forward Emily Rodabaugh returns to anchor a starting lineup with plenty of experience. Rodabaugh, the Cascade Conference’s MVP, continues to improve her game.

“She continually is dedicated to her game,” Snyder said. “She is trying to get better. She wants to be a more well-rounded player and focus on the defensive end and being able to score many different ways. She just wants to be a threat, be a better passer and just a better leader all around.”

Rodabaugh and teammate Olivia Riojas, a senior guard, were two of the players selected to play in an East-West all-star coach that Snyder also coached.

“She was a big scorer for us last year,” Snyder said of Riojas, a first-team, all-league selection. “She’s worked hard on trying to expand her game and be more of a shooting threat. She is a great shooter.”

The other returning seniors include guard Maddie Hill, guard Izzy Lucas and forward Megan Dorney.

“All these seniors should have a sense of urgency,” Snyder said. “They have state experience. The players should be eager to get back there and go further.”

Hill, a second-team, all-leaguer, is expected to assume a larger role, both on and off the court. Lucas also brings strong leadership skills and projects a sense of calmness on the court, Snyder said.

Dorney should continue to be a major threat offensively and she also is regarded as one of the team’s better defenders and rebounders.

“She just does all the dirty work,” Snyder said. “We know she’ll give every ounce she has and leave everything on the court.”

Sophomore forward Julia Lucas, Izzy’s younger sister, and junior Audrey Graham should both see their minutes on the court increase.

The Wildcats will likely be participating in a fall league in preparation for the season.

“We’re constantly competing against each other. Everyone is getting better,” Snyder said. “It’s a very talented group. Hopefully, they’ll continue to grow and learn.”

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