Sports

Season preview: Liberty girls basketball

The Liberty girls basketball team has a mix of veteran leadership, young talent and a new coach. So far, the results have been positive, with a 4-1 start.

The Patriots won just five games last season on the way to a 5-15 record overall, a 3-13 league record and an eighth-place finish in the KingCo.

Randy Leifer is the new coach for Liberty. Leifer coached at Lindbergh previously for eight years in different capacities.

“We’re off to a good start,” Leifer said. “So it’s been fun so far.”

Liberty welcomes back six players from last season and will start a group of three seniors, a junior and a sophomore.

One of those seniors is 5-foot-11 forward Corinna Van Hurston. Van Hurston currently leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.8 points per game. She has also added 4.6 rebounds per game.

The other seniors are 5-foot-5 guard Katie Growden and 5-foot guard Rayssa Lira. Growden is currently third on the team in scoring with an average of 10.8 points per game. Lira leads the team with 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Junior Breanna Faehnrich also starts. The 5-foot-5 guard is averaging 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game this season.

The fifth starter might be Liberty’s best prospect. Danni Sjolander is a 6-foot sophomore center. She is averaging 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Sjolander played on varsity last year and has shown the ability to take over the inside part a game. In Liberty’s 43-35 win against Mount Si on Dec. 10, Sjolander tallied 14 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

“She’s definitely off to a really good start,” Leifer said.

Corinna Fuentes will be the first player off the bench most nights, while Halie Ericksen, Alexis Court and Aspen Winegar will play big roles coming off the bench.

On offense, Liberty will run motion plays to get all five players involved and practice patience.

On defense, Leifer said he will tailor his game plan to the competition.

“We’ve been playing quite a bit of man-to-man so far,” he said. “But we’ll play some zone depending on the matchups. It’s more about how we match up with a particular team each night.”

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