Rather than throw freshmen into the fire of a full season of varsity action two years ago, Fort Vancouver seventh-year coach Arlisa Hinton tried a different approach. She kept a core group together on the sub-varsity teams so they could grow as a unit.
The Trappers are now reaping the rewards.
“This feels more like a team than I’ve had in the seven years of being here,” Hinton said. “I have a core group of juniors. They’ve played together and learned about each other a little bit more. They’ve just become better friends.”
For a program that’s had its fair share of struggles, that camaraderie will help keep the team moving forward even when the going gets tough.
“They’re so close-knit in that way,” Hinton said.
The group of juniors is led by 5-8 senior forward Kailey Gonzalez. Also expected to be a leader is senior Corah Williams. “She’s the energy of the team,” Hinton said.
Goals and expectations are a little different for the Trappers. It doesn’t mean wins or losses, rather limiting turnovers is a high priority. This year’s team will also look different than years past in that “we’re finally going to play basketball,” Hinton said. “In all aspects of the game.”
There’s now a sense of hope and excitement around the program, and for the competitive Hinton, that’s a fun thing to watch.