Sports

Girls basketball: Coupeville, Oak Harbor coaches share similar seasons

Jackie Bykonen and Trisha Clayville have much in common. And the two share more than the title of girls basketball coach.

Both entered this past season as first-time, high-school varsity coaches, Bykonen at Coupeville and Clayville at Oak Harbor. Each inherited teams that lost their top two scorers to graduation and college programs, and, as a result, both the Wolves and Wildcats struggled to score.

That lack of offensive punch was a major factor in both schools’ trouble garnering  victories. The Wolves won only three of 21 games; the Wildcats two of 20.

Now the new coaches are in the process of rebuilding their programs to be competitive next winter.

Bykonen said, “I would like to see the girls put more time in during the off season. In order to excel at a sport, you have to work not only during the season, but also throughout the year.”

She hopes to get the Coupeville girls involved in “off-season practices, camps, games and hopefully a tournament.” She added, “I also want to have the weight room available for the girls to get stronger and more conditioned.”

Clayville said, “We need to up the intensity in the off season …We really need to get more experience against quality teams.  We need to continue to get fundamentally sound and transfer the fundamentals into our offensive and defensive strategies…This summer we will work to get the girls more intense and get them playing at a more competitive level.”

The past season didn’t produce many marks in the win column, but, as Clayville said, people have to “be careful about measuring a season by wins and losses.”

She said, “When the losses begin to mount up it is hard to keep the girls believing that they are getting better and to keep them working hard to get competitive.  So it was hard for us as coaches to work that hard and to watch my girls work that hard, to only win two games.”

Both coaches said it wasn’t so much about winning but about improving each game.

Bykonen said, “We competed with most teams we played and the girls did improve. I was also not disappointed with their effort level. They continued to work hard despite their record and injuries.”

Clayville said, “We did improve tremendously throughout the season, but we couldn’t close the gap with some of the other schools.”

In spite of the rough seasons, the two coaches enjoyed their experience and “working with the girls.”

Bykonen said she also enjoyed working with her assistant coaches (David King, Amy King and Ryan O’Keefe): “I felt blessed to have the support of the coaches and I could have not asked for anything more my first year… For the most part, the work ethic of the girls and the support I received from the parents and the assistant coaches made my job easy.”

Clayville said, “I enjoyed getting to know people in the community, my girls and the coaching staff.  I am thankful for the support of Nicki (Luper, Oak Harbor High School athletic director) and the administration.”

The two coaches lived through similar seasons in 2010-11, shared similar experiences and, now, share similar plans to rebuild their programs.  They also hope to be sharing post-season tournament successes in the future.

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