The Peninsula High girls basketball program is still trying to find some stability at the coaching position.
Now on its third different coach for the third straight season, former Sumner High girls basketball coach Shane Patrick takes over a Seahawks program in need of stability and newfound energy.
Patrick, who took over the girls varsity job for the Spartans in 2012, was contacted by Peninsula boys coach Jake Jackson about the opening. Jackson previously coached at Sumner High School, as well.
While the girls team has struggled in recent years, including a 3-17 finish last season, Patrick is optimistic about the program’s infrastructure and believes the team is in a position to start contending for league titles.
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“The program is in great shape,” Patrick said. “The feeder program is very deep, (with) around 100 kids in the girls program. We’ve got a lot of young kids. We’re really young. They’re able to develop.”
Hopefully for the Seahawks, Patrick will be able to follow a similar trajectory as Jackson. When Jackson took over the boys program, the Seahawks were an afterthought and a cellar-dweller. Since Jackson has taken over, the Seahawks have begun to challenge for league titles and have been ranked in the top 10 of various state polls on several occasions.
Of course, having Oregon State commit JaQuori McLaughlin hasn’t hurt for Jackson. But the culture change has been about more than one player. It’s been about getting players to buy into the program, to practice hard and with a purpose, represent the program well off the court, and most of all, get back to having fun and being excited about playing basketball.
Patrick, who played for the University of Montana Western in the early 1980s, wants the players to embrace a change in thinking.
“You’ve just got to set the tone from the outset,” Patrick said. “It’s not going to be that way anymore so just forget about it. We’re moving on, we’re going to do something different.”
Patrick said he talked to the girls about one definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
“That hasn’t worked so we’re going to try something different now,” Patrick said. “They’ve responded extremely well. They’re all very excited to do something different.”
Of course, it’s easy to talk about changing the culture. But now, Patrick and the players will have to go out and prove it by winning games. It might take some time. This year’s team is young and will make some mistakes while players integrate into a new, high-pressure, faster-paced system. But Patrick said he expects the team to finish in the top half of the 3A SPSL.
“In the next couple years, (we’ll challenge for a league title),” Patrick said. “We’re still getting to know each other.”