Young Grizzlies are making an impact on the court

Bear Creek girls are off to a stellar start.

Seven freshmen, one sophomore and one senior.

The Bear Creek School in Redmond may sport a young girls basketball squad, but the Grizzlies are going toe-to-toe with the older teams on their schedule and had notched a 4-1 record in 1A Emerald City League action and overall 6-4 mark at press time. The team was winless last season.

“I really just get to mold and build this group kind of into what I see will work best for them to be successful on the floor,” said first-year Grizzly head coach Ebany Herd.

Playing solid defense is a crucial component of the 2019-2020 edition of the Grizzlies. Another vital aspect that has the team reaping success is displaying teamwork on both sides of the ball. Herd has been working with each player to develop their skills and put the pieces together to form an adept Grizzly squad.

Herd said she’s a firm believer that a team’s offense builds out of its defense, and the Grizzlies have trusted her and bought into that game plan. The team’s goal is to improve a little bit each day, and Herd has witnessed the results.

The Grizzlies are running four to five different defenses as opposed to one or two.

“Trying new things out against different teams, trying to figure out what works best,” Herd said of their defensive schemes. “Some defenses work better against other teams. Sometimes you have to mix it up in a game more than once. You have to give teams different looks and kind of throw them off balance a little bit, just so they’re not in momentum and in a flow.”

Herd played at Northwest University in Kirkland and has coached for 11 years, including three years as an assistant at Issaquah High, eight years with Issaquah’s feeder program and presently with the Eastside Basketball Club in Redmond.

Through all those years of coaching, Herd has never witnessed anyone unleash her basketball skills like Bear Creek freshman Macey Huard.

The 6-foot-1 guard drained 45 points in a recent game and is averaging 30 points, 7.8 rebounds, six steals and 2.2 assists a contest.

“She has a drive and a determination that I’ve actually have never really seen. She wants it so badly and she’s just a different breed, to be honest with you,” said Herd, adding that Huard wants to reach the next level and constantly works on her skills outside of practice.

Since the girls first gathered in the gym this season, Huard said the Grizzlies’ coaches have encouraged them “to give everything and leave it all on the court, which has transformed our team’s work ethic and drive.”

The team is hard-working, supportive and fun, Huard added. The youngsters will need to rely on everyday growth in the skills department and have confidence, smarts and chemistry on board to compete with any team on their docket, she said.

Senior 5-6 guard Katie Kranz does whatever is asked of her while leading the squad, said Herd, adding that “she’s doing a really good job of just kind of holding all the pieces together.”

There’s heaps of energy and enthusiasm on the court as the season rolls on, Herd said.

“The personality of our team has been expressed through pushing each other every practice and game, working together and contributing to the ongoing theme of ‘whatever it takes’ that we have striven toward each day as we keep the playoffs in mind,” Kranz said.

Bear Creek has additional height on the floor with 5-11 freshmen Mackenzie Martin (wing/post) and Izzy Jones (post), who are averaging 10.3 and eight rebounds per game, respectively. Freshman 5-5 guard Hannah Bruner has chipped in with 4.2 points and 2.9 steals a game.

Bear Creek’s Hannah Bruner (5) goes up for a block against Bush last month. Photo courtesy of Janeen Sorensen

Bear Creek’s Hannah Bruner (5) goes up for a block against Bush last month. Photo courtesy of Janeen Sorensen