Led by new coach Bernard Thomas, the Woodinville 8th Grade Girls Select team won the BC Shootout at Bellevue College on the weekend of November 15-17th. The Lady Falcons overcame strong competition from the Puget Sound Travel League to go undefeated in the tournament and start the season 4-0.
"For the first time talking about them, I want to emphasize the team," Thomas said. "They play together really well. We stepped right out and beat Bellevue Christian, Newport, Liberty and Mercer Island in the championship."
The most tense moment came in the championship game, as Mercer Island whittled down Woodinville’s lead while key Falcon players sat on the bench.
"Parents really didn’t know what I was doing," said Thomas. "But when you get a feel for the game, I was like ‘we got this.’ I sat down Regan (Schenck) and Mercer Island closed the gap by like four points at halftime. I was like ‘we’re going to be alright.’ Regan was sitting on the bench. Kennedy (Selway) was in foul trouble. Both of them sat for the last four minutes of the first half.
"Regan was just itchin’ to get in," he said. "I knew what I was planning to do. I told them ‘you’re not coming out for the rest of the game unless you’re in foul trouble.’ Those guys went back out there and just lit that team up! And it was over. And Mercer Island knew it was over, too.
"We are high octane run-and-gun," Thomas said. "What do we do at practice? We run. What else do we do at practice? We sprint. I have athletes. I stress to them that you get what you tolerate. I stress rebounding, kicking it out, get it out, get it up the floor and get some. And that’s what they do."
Thomas was asked to become this team’s head coach just 10 days ago, and he jumped right into the fray. In all, he will be coaching three separate youth teams this winter. After his quick 4-0 start with the Lady Falcons, he’s excited for this season’s story to be told.
"From what the parents have told me, this team has been playing together since the 5th grade," Thomas said. "They know each other, the parents go on vacations together. This is a close team. We’ve got outstanding athletes. It’s just fun. You can really let them go on their own and play. They play tough defense, full court.
"I get excited just talking about this team!"
During the first week, as Thomas and the team became familiar with each other, some light-hearted moments occurred, including one off-handed reference to a NBA Hall-of-Famer from yesteryear.
At one point, the 5’10" Madison Lundquist drove toward the hoop and made a stylish fingertip lay in. Thomas told her, "That was like the Ice Man, George Gervin!"
"Who’s that?" she said.
"Never mind," Thomas told her while grinning and shaking his head.
Woodinville 8th Grade Girls Select roster:
15 - Jordan Berday
10 - Nicki Carp
22 - Alena Coomar
33 - Torrey Lind
30 - Madison Lundquist
31 - Erin McGrath
23 - Regan Schenck
20 - Kennedy Selway
02 - Nikki Zaback