SEQUIM — Sequim won’t sneak up on anybody this season.
The Wolves return a deep and experienced roster from last season’s Class 2A State Tournament qualifying squad and Sequim coach Linsay Rapelje said her Wolves are primed for another fun run with a return trip to Yakima’s SunDome, the ultimate goal.
“You can feel it, everybody is really excited,” Rapelje said. “It’s a fun feeling to come off of going to state and having your whole team basically, back. “This is a group that is motivated to want to do well.”
And Rapelje doesn’t believe her squad lost anything from last season’s strong postseason run.
“After one week of practice, I feel like we are stepping into almost where we left off,” Rapelje said.
“That’s exciting for me because I can continue to build. I don’t have to start over.”
And the building blocks are talented upperclassmen.
Sequim returns three double-digit scorers in senior forward Hope Glasser (13.1 points per game), knockdown shooter Kalli Wiker (11.5) and arguably the Olympic League’s top post in Jayla Julmist who averaged a double-double in points and rebounds last season and very nearly sent Port Angeles packing from the state tournament in a standout performance.
“Hope and Jayla put in a ton of time on their own in the offseason,” Rapelje said. “They played with some of the PA girls in tourneys over the summer. Hope played in a tournament with the boys team. She does have a connection there and she played in a couple of tournaments with the boys.”
It’s a tactic used by nearly every women’s college program — scrimmaging in practices or open gyms against men’s players and Rapelje believes it will help her squad play faster.
“To understand and learn that speed of the game will be good for them because it’s different than many girls games. We play pretty fast, but it’s even faster, Rapelje said.
Glasser and Julmist also worked on ball-handling during the offseason, so expect the posts to have a presence in press breaks and pushing the pace after defensive rebounds.
“She and Hope are capable are able to push the ball up the court, so we don’t have to necessarily outlet [pass upcourt] immediately. I think that will add a layer to our games.”
And Wiker, skilled from outside with her shot, worked on getting to the rim.
“Driving to the hoop was a big emphasis for her,” Rapelje said.
And that will only open up opportunities for Glasser and Julmist inside.
Also returning are senior captain Jessica Dietzman (7.9 points per game), junior guard Melissa Porter (7.1 per game) and sophomore guards Hannah Wagner and Riley Pyeatt and post LeeAnn Raney.
Freshman Hannah Bates put a ton of time into her game heading into her first varsity season and will contribute for the Wolves.
“She worked hard all summer,” Rapelje said. “She went to the skill sessions PA had, skill sessions with Ali[son Crumb] at Peninsula College. It was nonstop, she did whatever she could to get better.”
Rapelje said Bates is a 5-foot-2 guard.
“She’s small but mighty, that’s what her mom says and it’s true,” Rapelje said.
“She’s a great ball handler that can shoot, drive and plays defense.”
The Wolves also have a formidable schedule, with tough games against Neah Bay, Class 1A runner-up Lynden Christian, state contenders King’s and Tumwater, a 3A team that made state last season in Edmonds-Woodway and four league games against North Kitsap and Port Angeles.
“We tried to pick up some more competitive games,” Rapelje said. “The Cloud 9 Tourney where we play Lynden Christian, that was set up for us. When I saw we were playing them, my eyes widened a little bit, but that will be good for us.”
And Rapelje said she believes Sequim will be in the thick of a three-team race for the top spot in the Olympic League.
“Our league is so competitive, which is great, because when we move onto the postseason we all seem to move on, so that’s exciting.
“PA and NK, if I had to guess, probably a battle between us and PA.
“PA still has a number of awesome players and it will be a battle. North K is always competitive, too,” Rapelje said.
Head coach: Linsay Rapelje, fifth season, second stint with Wolves.
Last season: 8-4, 17-8, third in Olympic League, 3-1 district tournament, won state regional, lost first round of state tournament.
Returners: Hope Glasser (sr., F, 5-9); Jayla Julmist (jr., P, 6-0); Kalli Wiker (jr., G, 5-7); Jessica Dietzman (sr., G, 5-7); Melissa Porter (jr., G, 5-5); Riley Pyeatt (so., G, 5-4); Hannah Wagner (so., G, 5-6); LeeAnn Raney (so., P, 6-0).
Newcomers: Hannah Bates (Fr., G, 5-2)
Outlook: Sequim has lofty goals as the Wolves return most of their team that qualified for state last year.