PORT ANGELES — They come from all around the Olympic Peninsula, but this year’s edition of the Peninsula College women’s basketball team has the most local players in recent memory, bringing winning and championship pedigrees to the team.
The 2023-24 Peninsula College women feature Sequim’s Jelissa Julmist and Hannah Bates, Neah Bay’s Allie Greene and Forks’ Kadie Wood.
Julmist and Bates were part of Sequim’s 14-0 Olympic League championship squad last year. They went on to finish fourth at the state 2A tournament. Greene was part of last year’s Neah Bay state championship squad and Wood was part of a Pacific 2B League co-championship team that won a berth to the state tournament.
The quartet continues an effort coach Alison Crumb has made to recruit local talent. Last year she had Port Angeles’ Millie Long leading the team, with Ruth Moss from Neah Bay and Gina Brown from East Jefferson playing important reserve roles. Two years ago, Sequim’s Hope Glasser was a huge part of a team that played for the NWAC championship.
Because Peninsula is in a smaller community than colleges in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, the Pirates often have to look far and wide for talent to compete with players from those urban areas with deep talent pools. The women’s basketball teams have had a number of players from Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada the past few years. However, Crumb also wants the best players from the Peninsula to come here, as well.
“I want it to be the norm,” she said. “I want that connective tissue with the community.
“That added bonus is that they’re all great, wonderful human beings,” Crumb said.
Julmist said there were a number of factors that brought her to Peninsula College.
“I love Allie as our coach. I grew up watching her coach,” she said. “[And] I’m not ready to leave [the Olympic Peninsula] yet.”
Bates and Julmist made quite a one-two punch for the Wolves with Bates at the point guard position hitting big 3-pointers and getting the ball to Julmist inside.
“We both wanted to keep playing together,” Julmist said. “Peninsula College was an obvious choice for us.”
“We’ve been playing together for eight or 10 years,” Bates said. “We’ve had a long journey together through basketball. It’s so exciting to have another two years together.”
Could Julmist and Bates try to move on to a four-year school together?
“We’re not talking about it yet, but that would be pretty cool,” Bates said.
Bates pointed out that she and Julmist have also been playing with and against Greene and Wood for years through club and AAU ball.
Bates and Julmist especially know Greene well. Neah Bay and Sequim had quite a rivalry against each other last year, splitting two very hard-fought games against each other. Sequim handed Neah Bay the Red Devils’ only loss of the year in an early season game 60-52, coming back from a huge deficit. Neah Bay came back late in the year and got revenge with a 70-55 win in Sequim before moving on to the postseason and its championship.
“She’s a great shooter,” Bates said of Greene. “They really have a competitive mindset. What we have in common with Neah Bay is that winning culture.”
Greene, an outstanding 3-point shooter for the Red Devils, is part of a long line of Neah Bay players who have gone on to play for Peninsula. In addition to Moss, Greene’s high school coach Cherish Moss and assistant coach Gina McCauley both played at Peninsula.
“I really like that this is close to Neah Bay,” she said. “It’s so family oriented.”
Greene said the college game is faster and one of the things she is having to work on “is finding different ways for me to get my shot.”
She also expects that her high school teammates from last year will do just fine this year without her.
“I’ll be surprised if they don’t win the state championship again,” she said.
Wood is the second Forks High School product to come to Peninsula in recent years. A few years ago, 6-10 center Marky Adams came from Forks to Peninsula and was part of a team that made a run to the state championship. He went on to play at Saint Martin’s in Lacey.
“They have a really good program and it’s close to home,” Wood said. Forks has a big scoring star in Keira Johnson playing her senior year for the Spartans this season. Wood hasn’t talked to her about coming to Peninsula.
“I’m not sure what she’s doing, but she definitely could play here,” she said.