The Peninsula High School girls basketball team posted a 16-8 record last season.
The biggest catalyst for the team’s success? That would be then-sophomore star Belle Frazier, who averaged about 20 points per game for the Seahawks last season.
Now a junior, Frazier once again figures to be the focal point of the Seahawks squad, as she has been since she stepped onto campus.
It’s a blessing and a curse. In Peninsula’s losses last season, teams often keyed on Frazier with double teams, essentially taking her out of the game.
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“It was a challenge,” Frazier said. “But it left my teammates open, which in the end, helped us out. This year, I don’t think it’ll be much of an issue.”
New coach Mike Schick has talked about taking some of the burden off Frazier this year. Freshman Piper Bauer is already looking strong at point guard. If she starts, Frazier could move into more of a shooting guard role.
Senior Kirsten Ritchie projects to be one of the best centers in the Class 3A South Sound Conference.
“I can already tell a big difference,” Frazier said. “Piper has been stepping up, Kirsten has been stepping up — everyone has. With Kirsten, just having a post that tall that can run that fast, move the way she does, that’s going to be huge this year.”
Especially with how much Peninsula plans to get out and run this season. Schick has begun implementing his style of basketball into the program — which is a fast, constant-pressure game.
“It’s huge so far,” Frazier said. “We do a lot of running.”
This year, it’s such a different level of intensity. We have to step it up on defense. That’s our main focus at practice. Just working on communication, and individually, working on ball pressure, making sure your man doesn’t score.
Belle Frazier, Peninsula High junior
The worst of the conditioning exercises so far? Something Schick calls “20 in 20.”
“You have to run down (the length of the court) and back 20 times and you have 20 seconds for each time,” Frazier said. “It’s pretty easy in the beginning but it gets harder.”
Can everyone do each run in under 20 seconds? Check back later — it’s a work in progress.
“A lot of girls end up on the side of the floor, just dying,” Frazier said with a laugh. “It’s a process.”
Frazier said the key to taking the next step this season — contending for a league title, possibly going deeper in the playoffs — will be defense.
“This year, it’s such a different level of intensity,” Frazier said. “We have to step it up on defense. That’s our main focus at practice. Just working on communication, and individually, working on ball pressure, making sure your man doesn’t score.”
Frazier said she worked in the offseason on her mid-range game and creating shots for herself off the dribble. With a strong supporting cast around her, Frazier is bullish on the Seahawks’ chances this year.
“I think it’s going to be the best season yet,” she said. “It’s going to be a good one.”