Sequim’s Jolene Vaara goes to the rim during a 2022-23 contest. Vaara won the Olympic League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors while guiding the Wolves to a league title. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim’s Jolene Vaara goes to the rim during a 2022-23 contest. Vaara won the Olympic League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors while guiding the Wolves to a league title. (Emily Matthiessen/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Wolves eye league repeat

Chartraw a big boost

SEQUIM — Talk about a tough act to follow.

Eighteen regular-season wins, 22 overall, a fourth-place finish at the state 2A tournament and an undefeated league campaign.

Third-year head coach Joclin Julmist said he likes his team’s chances to compete every night against a tough schedule in 2023-24.

He’ll lean heavily on senior leadership on the court in the form of senior posts Jolene Vaara and Dani Herman.

The 5-foot-10 Vaara, last season’s Olympic League MVP and Defensive MVP who was also named to the 2A all-tournament team as a junior, led Sequim with 15.2 points and 3.7 steals per contest and 64 offensive rebounds.

At 6 feet tall, Herman was one of the team’s top rebounders, finishing fourth with 71 boards (25 offensive).

“She’s efficient down low,” Julmist said of Herman. “We’re working on her inside game so she can be more physical.”

Also back is junior guard Bobbi Mixon, who missed time with injuries the past two seasons, but when on the court provided a big spark to the offense. She shot 35 percent from 3-point range and had 59 rebounds and 39 steals.

Junior guard Libby Turella returns as well. At 5-9, Turella is able to shoot over defenders from deep, and in 2022-23 she was second on the team with 19 3-pointers made.

Further, Julmist said he expects contributions from sophomore guards Hailey Wagner, Kiley Winter and Raimey Brewer and junior forward Taylor Heyting.

“If we stay healthy, we’ll compete,” Julmist said. “I like the team. We’ll try to get better every week.”

Wagner, in particular, should give the Wolves a boost in athleticism, he said.

“[Wagner] is a go-getter; she likes to compete,” Julmist said.

The Wolves, however, lost a great deal to graduation and other sports. Gone is Jelissa Julmist and Hannah Bates, the 2023 graduates who formed a tough inside-outside combo and now play for Peninsula College. Julmist was Sequim’s top rebounder and shot blocker and No. 2 scorer, while Bates led the team in assists and 3-pointers and was second in steals and third in scoring.

Also lost to graduation is No. 2 rebounder Sammie Bacon.

The Wolves will also be missing seniors Taryn Johnson and Kaitlyn Bloomenrader, key guards in the Wolves’ state playoff run in 2022-23.

However, Sequim does get a boost in Neah Bay transfer Gracie Chartraw, a freshman guard who played a key role on the Red Devils’ 1B state-championship team.

“That’ll be good for us,” Joclin Julmist said.

In the past two seasons, Julmist and the Wolves are 42-9.

Sequim plays its first home game tonight against North Kitsap at 5:15 p.m.

Sequim is back on the road for two tough matchups — Saturday at Anacortes and Wednesday at Neah Bay — before a Dec. 23 non-leaguer against Steilacoom.

Sequim Wolves

• Head coach: Joclin Julmist (third season). 2022-2023 results: 14-0 in Olympic League (champions), 5-3 in postseason, 23-4 overall; fourth place at state

• Key returners: Jolene Vaara (sr.), Dani Herman (sr.), Bobbie Mixon (jr.), Hailey Wagner (so.), Taylor Heyting (jr.), Libby Turella (jr.), Taylor Heyting (jr.)

• Newcomers: Gracie Chartraw (fr.), Kiley Winter (so.), Raimey Brewer (so.).

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