Girls basketball team lacing up for new season

"Remember, ladies," head coach Christina Good yells to her players from across the high school gym, "stretch really good. Hammies. Quads."

Good moves about the hardwood, keeping an eye on the players' forms, with one bare foot. As players arrived for practice last Wednesday night, one had forgotten a single sock. Good lent the player hers. It's an example of how dedicated the coach and her team are toward making the most of the season.

"That's what coaches do," Good said with a shrug.

Last year, the Wrangell High School girls basketball team went all the way to the state championship to face Tikigaq for the title. They had lost only one game all season, besting even Metlakatla, one of the toughest teams in the state.

This year's team looks quite different than last year, Good said. For one thing, there are 13 players, allowing the formation of a junior varsity team. But there is also the loss of players who helped take the team to state last year.

"Our team is going to be different," Good said. "We lost some powerhouse players from last year, with Kendra (Meissner), Liana (Carney) and Jamie (Early) leaving us. Sometimes, players are easy to replace but the talent is not. We don't have the three-point shooting, we don't have the aggressiveness of Jamie or Liana yet, but we're going to work on that."

What the team does have are two seniors, two juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen. Good and assistant coach Kaelene Harrison are going to work on incorporating a variety of dribbling, passing and shooting. Good said they want to build on each player's success, making shots, perfecting techniques and form and "having success at the basket. That's what it's all about: Just building on those successes and helping them recreate that."

Despite having a younger, inexperienced team, senior Kiara Harrison is determined to lead her teammates to another shot at the state title.

"I'm definitely really excited," she said while watching the practice from the bench. "I think we're going to have a fun season. I'm looking forward to just doing as well as we did last year and trying to finish this year."

Harrison is nursing a sprained ankle she received while playing at the state volleyball championship in early December. Harrison and sophomore teammate Aubrey Wynne are both healing from ankle injuries, which is keeping the team from competing at the Clarke Cochran Christmas Classic in Ketchikan Dec. 27-29.

But the team will be ready to compete, Good said, at the first official games against Haines on Jan. 9 and 10 in Wrangell. As she's able, Harrison will start practicing and getting into a leadership role.

"As far as my game is concerned, I want to become more comfortable on the outside and work on my shooting and be able to fill whatever role is needed for our team, whether that's post or wing or guard," Harrison said. "We definitely have a young team, so there's going to be a lot of learning and mentoring, but I'm looking forward to it."

Good said Harrison is the team captain this year and will be doing "what she does best. She's a silent leader. She's our encourager and she's just an incredible person and athlete."

Harrison would have been the only senior on the team if not for Trinity Faulkner joining. She and her family recently moved from Seward. Although Faulkner hasn't played basketball since middle school, Good said she has "some raw moves" that the coaches can use to the team's benefit.

One of the teams Good said they are focused on beating is Metlakatla, which has 25 players this year. "They are big. Their whole starting lineup, I don't think they have anybody under 5-foot-8," she said. "Metlakatla is going to be fully loaded."

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, Good remains optimistic.

"We have so much potential. This is Kiara's last year, so we're going to focus on letting her have a fantastic season," Good said.

For Harrison, it's a simple equation.

"Hard work reaps benefits," she said. "We have to work hard to get to where we want to be this season and not give up."


Trinity Faulkner, senior

Kiara Harrison, senior

Kayla Meissner, junior

Mindy Meissner, junior

Addy Andrews, sophomore

Della Churchill, sophomore

Abby Stough, sophomore

Clara Waddington, sophomore

Aubrey Wynne, sophomore

Vanessa Barnes, sophomore

Christina Johnson, freshman

Shailyn Nelson, freshman

Miranda Ridgeway, freshman


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