Puyallup: Sports

Sumner High girls basketball looks to build better team balance over summer

Sumner’s Delaney Lewis dribbles up the court during the basketball game against Auburn Mountainview at Mountain View Middle School in Bonney Lake on Friday.
Sumner’s Delaney Lewis dribbles up the court during the basketball game against Auburn Mountainview at Mountain View Middle School in Bonney Lake on Friday. jbessex@gateline.com

The Sumner High girls basketball team is trying to find some balance this summer.

The Spartans finished this past season with a 12-12 record, backed by a strong defense and timely shooting. But Sumner is still looking for that missing piece: the offense.

Last season, the magic number for Sumner’s offense was 40 points. If the Spartans’ offense put up at least that many points, they usually came out on top. Sumner finished the season 9-5 when scoring 40 or more points in a game, averaging 47.43 points in those games.

“We have to become a better team,” Kennedy Cutter said. “I feel like a lot of us, we were playing individually. We wanted to get ours, and we weren’t as good as friends yet. But this year, I can already see us becoming more like a family.”

When that “family” clicked, the Spartans scored. But when it didn’t, Sumner could only muster an average of 29.6 points per game, resulting in a 3-7 record during those contests.

If we can get 10 points across the board with our starters, that’s what we want. Our league (will be) tough.

Sumner coach Jordan Moog

“Team basketball is what Sumner’s is about,” coach Jordan Moog said. “If we can get 10 points across the board with our starters, that’s what we want. Our league (will be) tough.”

Next season, Sumner will move up into Class 4A. It joins newcomers Bellarmine Prep, Olympia and South Kitsap, which will face Curtis, Emerald Ridge, Graham-Kapowsin, Puyallup and Rogers in the new South Puget Sound League.

It will be a tough transition for Sumner.

The good news for Sumner is the team connected toward the end of the season as the Spartans finally discovered a balance that worked for them.

We have to move the ball and run our plays right. Not just give up and run something random if it doesn’t work out the first time.

Jaylin Borden

Over the final 12 games of the season, Sumner only failed to score at least 40 points in just three games, marking a significant improvement from the start of the season.

“(If) we move the ball, and (we’re) all on the same page — we all (have to) want to contribute to the scoring,” Jaylin Borden said. “We have to move the ball and run our plays right. Not just give up and run something random if it doesn’t work out the first time.”

On Saturday afternoon, Sumner’s offensive deficiencies reared up again when the Spartans faced Federal Way at the Battle on the Hill girls basketball tournament at Bonney Lake High.

Sumner’s defense played strong against the Eagles, pulling off a 28-19 win. But even with the win, there was still questions with the offense.

“We beat them by 23 (points last week), so I don’t know what was up. We couldn’t hit a shot,” Moog said.

Sumner went with the same formula that worked for them last season. By rotating Kaitlyn Clark and Kelsey Bell between post and forward, and moving Joy Mahnken to shooting guard, the offense found a spark.

It allows us to spread out more, and gives us the option to shoot it (with Joy Mahnken or Kennedy Cutter) or attack down low (with Kelsey Bell).

Kaitlyn Clark

“I feel like I’m a better guard than when I’m at post,” Clark said. “It allows us to spread out more, and gives us the option to shoot it (with Mahnken or Cutter) or attack down low (with Bell).”

That’s the balance Sumner is hoping to find this summer.

With an influx of young talent, and a team that consisted of one senior last year, the Spartans have the chance to really make their mark in the new league.

“It’s exciting with how many younger kids coming in (to the program),” Moog admitted. “Honestly, we don’t have a whole lot of bench players where the ability on the floor doesn’t drop. It (would) be nice to sub quickly and continue to press the whole game.”

Finding that will be critical for the Spartans success in a difficult league.

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