As Head Coach Dereck Driggs enters his second year at the helm of the Eatonville High School (EHS) Girls basketball team, he is optimistic his team can improve on their 15-10 overall record from last season.

With the departure of Sammie Swartout, last year’s leading scorer on the team, they will lose a consistent 18 points per game from her. That will be a large hole to try and fill.

“We will be counting on returning all-conference second team selection, Jaelin Hotz, and all conference honorable mention selections, Peyton Hutchings and Brooklynn Lucht to step up and provide more consistency,” Driggs said. “We will also add an infusion of young talent with four freshmen making the varsity team this season.”

The Cruisers will look to returning captains, Hotz and Hutchings, to lead this year’s squad.  

“Jaelin had a great summer scoring the basketball and creating for others,” Driggs added. “She is also our best on ball defender. Peyton is a great leader and her poise under pressure is what sets her apart. We expect her to fill a larger scoring role as well. Lucht was the team's leading rebounder a year ago and we will look for her to be a consistent double-double type player for us this year.”

Senior Kaedyn Byrd and Junior Andrea Hutchings look to round out the final two starting spots for the team.

Coming off the bench for the Cruisers will be senior Amber Frank, junior Emily Frey, and freshmen Sophia Henley, Hailey Rath, Abigail Springer and Kya Stewart.

“We are very excited about our incoming freshman,” Driggs said. “I am looking forward to adding rebounding and interior scoring from Stewart and the ability to score from all areas of the floor from Rath.”

With the SPSL 2A league doing a little reshuffling of divisions and forming three divisions instead of two, the Cruisers find themselves in a tough SPSL 2A East Division along with perennial power house White River, Washington, Franklin Pierce and their long-time rival Orting.

“Our goal is to finish in the top four to secure a district tournament bye,” Driggs said. “This will set us up nicely in the district tournament.  As always, it is a long season and we will strive to get better one day at a time.”

The Cruisers will hit the hardwood to open the 2018-2019 season right after the Thanksgiving holiday by hosting the Rochester Warriors in a non-league game at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 27 at EHS. The following night, they will finish up the week with another non-league match up by traveling to Tenino to take on the Beavers. Tip off for that game will be at 7 p.m. at Tenino HS.