Senior leadership is an essential ingredient with regard to success in the world of high school basketball.
The Bellevue Christian Vikings girls basketball team, which has compiled an overall record of 17-0 thus far, have five seniors on the varsity roster. The dynamic duo of seniors Molly Olson and Molly VandenBrink has led the way during the 2018-19 season with their attention to detail on and off the court.
“They’re two of our five seniors and have both been four-year varsity players for us. They bring just a ton of leadership in word, but also in their in their actions in the way they work,” Bellevue Christian head coach Mark DeJonge said.
VandenBrink, who is currently averaging a team-high 14 points per game, will continue her basketball career at Colorado Christian University (Division II) school next year. DeJonge said Olson is planning on running track at the collegiate level but hasn’t decided on what school she will attend as of press time.
“To have two athletes like them who can play multiple positions and do different things has been great for our team. They’re wonderful young ladies more so than just great basketball players,” DeJonge said of VandenBrink and Olson.
DeJonge said Olson, who plays primarily in the post, is averaging close to a double/double per game. VandenBrink, who plays every position on the floor, is the kind of player opposing teams know about before stepping onto to the floor.
“There has been games where she sacrificed her points for the betterment of the team. She is often the focus of other teams (game plans),” DeJonge explained.
DeJonge credits his teams 17-0 overall record to a confluence of actors.
“We’ve got a good balance of senior leadership and underclassmen that has really blended together nicely. We’ve had some breaks go our way long the way a little bit and that has helped. They’ve really come together as a team and have taken it upon themselves to really work hard in practice and get better as individuals and as a group. Good things happen when that is the case. It has been a lot of fun,” DeJonge explained.
Olson said her team is determined to return to the Class 1A state tournament after failing to advance to the state tournament during the 2017-18 season.
“We didn’t go last year but we went my sophomore year,” Olson said of the Class 1A state tournament in Yakima. “We had a disappointing season last year. This year, we started off strong at the beginning of the season and have just kept the momentum going. It has been awesome, especially this being our senior year.”
Olson believes the turning point of the season was a 50-49 victory on the road against Meridian on Dec. 18. The Vikings improved their overall record to 5-0 at that juncture of the season.
“They are really good every year and we ended up beating them in the last seconds. That was really exciting and was really encouraging for the rest of our season,” Olson said. “Team chemistry is obviously a really big deal. We really like each other and I think it’s making a huge difference this year. You can see it.”
VandenBrink said her team is taking things one day at a time as the season progresses.
“We want to win (Nisqually) league, win districts. Those are our first goals before going to state (tournament),” VandenBrink said. “We want to grow and play for him (God). We want to show other people what we are playing for rather than just winning and dominating. We want to play for him (God) and that will just take us wherever we go. Hopefully we get to the dome (Yakima SunDome site of Class 1A state tourney).”
The Vikings believe wholeheartedly in the philosophy of their head coach on the hardwood.
“He is an amazing coach. He is like a second dad to all of us. I think he is a big part of our team chemistry,” VandenBrink said of DeJonge.