JHS: 'We decided we're not going to take it anymore'

So declares Juanita High School girls' basketball coach Kim Michel.

With absolute resolve, a team of talented yet frustrated players is determined to reinflate itself after languishing under a winless league record the past two years. "After six years of working with Kim," says senior Abby Croteau," we're finally starting to pull things together."

Sidney Uebelaker, co-captain and the third leg of the senior triumvirate, says, "It has been a battle. We were missing pieces and didn't have great team chemistry."

In an effort to boost team morale and unity, Michel took them to Western Washington University this summer for a one-week camp. It was truly a team-building, unifying experience. "Camp was great," says senior and co-captain Jolayna Jacobsen. "We got to spend time with each other and tweaked our skills."

Michel has seen the difference. "This year they have the confidence ... the team unity is amazing," she said. "We spent all summer improving offense and shooting."

The team - ranging from players to coach - certainly is not lacking in talent: Croteau and two other seniors have been coached by Juanita alum Michel since sixth grade in the local select program. As far as leadership: This is Michel's second year coaching the varsity basketball team, but has a long sports history at the school - she was part of the 1987 Kingco championship team for girls' basketball and the 1987 state championship girls' softball team.

Volunteer assistant Mike Singson, a 1980 Juanita grad and long-time friend of Michel's, gave a donation to the program and helps out during practices. "I do whatever I can to help Kimmy in her program," he says, "It ends up being very, very rewarding. The girls are very persistent. They're trying twice as hard this year."

Can the revamped Lady Rebels pull it off this year? Only time will tell; but opponents beware. "This year we have the heart," says Jolayna, "we're going to give it our all."

The next home game is Dec. 16 at 6:30 against rival Bothell. For more information and complete game schedule, see www.lwsd.org/juanita.[[In-content Ad]]