Photo by Karla Reynolds
Hoop coach draws double duty again
By Bill Reynolds
The recession has had an opposite effect on Scott Novak.
Instead of losing a job, the La Conner High basketball coach has added one.
Novak this year will again fill a dual role as head mentor for both the La Conner High School boys' and girls' hoop programs, a task he took on previously for a three-year span.
He will succeed Marla Quesnell, who last summer accepted a coaching offer from Arlington, on the Lady Braves' bench.
Novak inherits from Quesnell a young but fundamentally sound group.
"Nine of our 13 players are either freshmen or sophomores," he says, "so we have a very inexperienced team. But they're hard workers and competitive, and I see us getting better and better as the season moves forward."
It helps that he can draw upon a nucleus of seven talented returnees, led by versatile seniors Priscilla Ponce-Venegas, who at 5’5” can swing between the backcourt and frontline, and 5’3” point guard Nikki Finley, a crafty passer and fine perimeter shooter.
Both enjoyed superb outings a year ago during a key 51-37 triumph at Orcas.
Joining them will be 5’7” sophomore guard/forward Katie McKnight, who emerged under Quesnell as a reliable scorer and strong defender.
Sophomore guards Kelley McClung and Carly Anderson also made their presence felt as first-year players, and return to a deep and skilled Lady Braves backcourt.
Up front, La Conner will look to returning 5’8” forwards sophomore Aubrey Stewart and junior Alyssa McCormick for strength in the paint, as well as 5’7” senior Emily Anderson, who returns after a two-year hiatus.
"We have very little height," Novak concedes, "but we have above average speed and quickness. Our depth should also be a strength, especially after the first part of the season when some of our more inexperienced players have a chance to settle in."
Those newcomers are 5’6” sophomore guard Siomi Bobb, 5’10” freshman guard/forward Anna Cook, 5’6” freshman guard/forward Emma Christianson, 5’5” freshman guard Katie Novak, and 5’6” sophomore guard Lauren Reynolds, a transfer from Mart High School, in Central Texas, where she was a freshman reserve on a Mart High team that advanced to the second round of the 1A State playoffs.
Because he's juggling a full schedule, Novak this season will rely heavily on assistant coaches Randall Cook and former La Conner High standout Loran James.
That staff, mindful of likely obstacles posed by the usual suspects – Orcas, Darrington, Concrete, and Mount Vernon Christian – has already begun putting together an outline for the upcoming campaign.
"We hope to take care of the ball," says Novak, "and play tough defense. We'll also need to rebound extremely well in order to be successful."
If his players can accomplish that, Novak's job – at least this latest one – becomes a lot easier.
*La Conner will begin the year without junior post Taysha James, who is recovering from knee surgery. Novak is hopeful James, an inside scoring and rebounding presence, can return at some point in the season.
from Braves Raves...
By Amylynn Richards
The boys’ basketball game which had been scheduled for tonight has been changed to an away game at Meridian high school on Saturday, Dec. 10.
Junior varsity will play at 1:30 p.m. and varsity at 3:15 p.m.
The girls’ basketball home game against Coupeville which was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10 has been changed to Saturday, Dec. 17. The actual game times remain the same: junior varsity at 3 p.m. and varsity at 4:30 p.m.
This leaves two games left to be played in Brave country this week: The boys and girls basketball teams host Lopez on Saturday, Dec. 2. The boys varsity plays at 4 p.m. and the girls varsity at 5:30 p.m.
COACH OF THE YEAR
It took just two seasons to turn the Braves football team around, and the other Northwest and SeaTac coaches have noticed. La Conner Football Coach Johnny Lee has been named Coach of the Year; and the Braves have been awarded the Team Sportsmanship Award.
Senior Priscilla Ponce-Venegas has been selected to All-Tournament Volleyball First Team. She is the sole Brave to have been honored for first team. Of the eight athletes who received this honor, five of the First Team honorees are from the State Champion Rearden and second place Colfax. Colfax won the first round against La Conner and later sent Darrington to the consolation rounds as well. Darrington won third and La Conner seventh. One student from Bear Creek, which the Braves won for the Bi-District championship, was named as was an athlete from PeEll.
Senior Emily Anderson is selected for All-Tournament Second Team. Northwest League-mate Jessica Brooks also was selected for Second Team. Other members are from Rearden, Bear Creek, Kittitas, Adna and Brewster. League mate and Darrington Logger Brandy Hadaway was sele3cted for Honorable Mention.
The Northwest/Seatac 2B All-League team has been announced. Three Braves have been named to the 14 member honorary First Team All-League Offense team: Senior Landy James has been named as receiver; senior Nate Parker as offensive lineman; and junior Dahlton Zavala as running back.
Second Team All-League Offense: senior Cameron Wischhusen, offensive line; sophomore Wil James, offensive line, and sophomore Skylar Krueger, quarterback.
All-League Honorable Mention Offense: senior Bobby Poulton, receiver; sophomore Sean Hulbert, running back.
First Team All-League Defense: senior Nate Parker, defensive line; sophomore Wil James, linebacker; senior Landy James, defensive back.
Second Team All-League defense: senior Cameron Wischhusen, defensive line; sophomore Sean Hulbert, defensive back; sophomore Hudson Zavala, defensive back.
For All-League Honorable Mention Defense team: senior Bobby Poulton has been named defensive back; and junior Dahlton Zavala as linebacker.
The seventh and eighth grade boys middle school basketball teams went to Orcas on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The seventh grade Braves won 43-2, and the eighth grade Vikings won by just three points 38-35.