Be aggressive or get devoured

KINGSTON — Appropriate.

That’s how lady Buccaneers’ head basketball coach Kevin Strozier sums up the team’s season as it heads to the district tournament as one of the top three teams in Olympic League play.

“I expected to be where we’re at. I expected to win the league,” Strozier said confidently. “I knew we had the talent and I just had to convince them to believe that. Once I convinced them of their talent I knew the sky was the limit for us.”

The Bucs take a 13-7 overall record and a 12-4 league record into postseason. Two of the losses were dealt by 4A schools, Garfield and Franklin, both former state champions. The third loss came at the hands of 3A Lakes, currently No. 2 in the state.

But that’s how Strozier planned it.

“I knew coming in we would be against top 4 and 3A schools and I knew we probably wouldn’t win those games,” he said. “I did that so we knew what level we had to play at and I knew it would make us better.”

It did.

The Bucs play for state berth this Wednesday at Foss High School in Tacoma. The opponent has yet to be determined. The Bucs play the winner of the North Mason, Foster match up.

The Bucs defeated North Mason twice in regular season and have never faced Foster.

Strozier said the Bucs already know how to play North Mason and have a slight height advantage. Foster, on the other hand, required a little investigating. Strozier has been calling coaching colleagues to learn about Foster and hopes to get his hands on a tape of the team. Strozier said Foster has size, but so do the Bucs.

“To be honest with you we’re just as big as Foster,” he said.

Regardless, Strozier doesn’t care who the Kingston ladies play.

“I think for us it doesn’t matter,” he said. “We’ll take whoever we have to go against.”

Until then, the team remains dutiful in its preparation.

The focus, as always, is on playing with intensity and aggression.

The post season motto, “be aggressive or get devoured.”

Strozier has cut practices to an hour and 15 minutes to prevent postseason burn out. But don’t be fooled — practices are still challenging.

“It’s a very intense practice we’re getting in,” Strozier said. “Often we bring the boys in and go against them.”

When game time finally arrives, Strozier plays a roster of 11. He doesn’t look to one athlete to lead the way, but instead all the players get the job done when their number is called.

Competition beware.

“If you’re only playing seven somebody’s going to get tired cause we’re going to run 11 at you,” he said.

Another card the Bucs play is focus.

The bus rides to competitions are quiet. They’re concentrating. They’re focused. They’re in the zone.

“I don’t believe when you go to the game you should be doing a lot of talking, you’ve got to be focused,” Strozier said. “You can’t get on the court and be thinking about other things.”

Win or lose come Wednesday, history has already been made for many of the Buccaneers. For several players, including four seniors, this is the first time they’ve advanced beyond regular season play.

An already appropriate start to postseason.

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