Young but veteran Glacier Peak comes in with confidence | Girls basketball

Grizzlies return only one full-time starter but still have plenty of experience
By David Pan | Dec 07, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Glacier Peak’s Sydney Guffey (right) guards Snohomish’s Kayla Soderstrom during a jamboree game at Snohomish High School.

The departure of two first-team, all-league players might be cause for concern for most programs.

It’s pretty clear the Glacier Peak girls basketball team is the exception to the rule.

Even though they lost Abbie Juozapaitis to graduation and Alexyss Newman when she moved back to Arizona, the Grizzlies head into season as many people’s favorite in the Wesco 4A.

“There’s a lot of talent and a lot of speed,” coach Brian Hill said of the Glacier Peak roster. “If you get the talent to catch up to their speed, it’ll be pretty fun.”

Senior point guard Haley Grambo is the lone returning starter from last year’s team, which finished second in the league behind Lake Stevens and advanced to the state regional tournament.

Hill describes the Grizzlies as a young veteran team.

“We’re young, but there are a lot of veterans players that we still have,” Hill said.

Center Sydney Guffy is the only other senior on the roster and is a co-captain with Grambo. Guffy doesn’t see many weaknesses in the lineup.

“We have everything we need,” the 5-foot-8 post said. “We have shooters. We have great defenders. We can all drive and post up. We’re just really diverse. Each player is capable of doing many things instead of just one thing.”

The starting lineup might see some different faces throughout the season.

“I’ve got about seven kids, eight kids I could start,” Hill said. “They’re all experienced, even the rest of my bench. They come in and we don’t miss a beat.”

Sophomore Aaliyah Collins played significant minutes during her freshman season. Hill noted that the 5-5 guard has worked on her shot during the offseason.

“She’s more confident with her outside shooting,” Hill said.

Sophomore guard Maya Erling also saw action last season and continues to build on her skills.

“She’s turning into a more complete player,” Hill said. “She sees the floor really well. She moves great without the basketball. She’s strong to the hoop.”

Sophomore Madison Rubino, a 5-11 center, will fill some of the inside role that Newman provided.

“She does a good job of running up and down the court and getting rebounds,” Hill said.

Sophomore guard Malia Smith is expected to pick up some of the offensive load that Juozapaitis provided.

“She’s a great outside shooter and her range is deep,” Hill said. “She’s very confident with the basketball.”

Junior center Tiana Hollimon has battled injures her first two seasons. Hollimon played well during the summer and Hill said she gives Glacier Peak another strong inside presence.

Grambo expects big things out of the sophomore class, which possesses good speed.

“They play really hard. They can finish around the hoop really well,” Grambo said. “We don’t play like we’re young. We play like we’ve been together for a long time.”

Glacier Peak and Kentridge, which was ranked No. 1 in the Seattle Times preseason poll, met in two tournament championship games during the summer. The Chargers won the Snohomish Tournament, while the Grizzlies prevailed at the Edmonds Tournament.

Both Grambo and Guffy have high expectations for the Grizzlies.

“I think we’re a state finalist team,” Grambo said.

“I’m excited for the year because we’re capable of great things,” Guffy added. “We’re capable of going all the way.”

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