Olympus girls basketball back on the court, looking for another region titleDec 01, 2023 12:40PM ● By Josh McFadden
Olympus’ Adee Shimoda (No. 0 in white) will be a big part of the Titans’ team this season. Olympus is the defending co-Region 6 champions. (Photo by Caleb Brown.)
After two straight seasons of sharing the region title with Highland, the Olympus girls basketball team is ready to claim the championship alone once again.
The Titans and Rams were co-champions of Region 6 in 2021–22 and 2022–23, both sporting 10-2 records in each season. While a nice accomplishment, the team is eager to return to its 2020–21 form when it won the region outright by going 13-1, beating out Highland by one game.
“Looking forward to another year,” head coach Whitney Hunsaker said. “Nine years at Olympus has been incredible for me. We have seen a lot of success lately, and I definitely want to continue that culture of success and having fun together. I love all the girls who have come through the program and have paved the way to make it a great program to be a part of for current players.”
It has been quite a turnaround for the program, as Hunsaker and her players have made incredible progress the past several years. The Titans were just 1-20 in 2017–18 and are now one of the top teams in Class 5A.
Still, Hunsaker is humble and keeps her team’s goals simple. Her formula for success lies in game-to-game preparation and hard work.
“Overall, our goal is to compete,” she said. “Obviously, we want to win as many games as we can, but if we are in every game and giving our best, that is what we want most. We aren't a super tall team, but we don't want to use our ‘weaknesses’ as excuses, so we plan to just go out there and find ways to win and compete with what we have. We have a group of kids who work hard and are committed to our program, so I just expect us to be in the dog fight every game and remind teams who we are and what we are about.”
Three returning starters are back to lead the team this year. Junior Joss Baker, a combo forward/guard, along with senior guard Keily Trabanino and senior point guard Adee Shimoda, bring experience and talent to the Titans. In addition, seniors Lily Smith, Tatum Harrison and Chloe Bontempo make it five seniors who have four years of experience and leadership in the program.
“[Baker] is strong and a competitor,” Hunsaker said. “She is great around the rim, a great outside shooter and a versatile player that we can use anywhere. [Trabanino] is a crafty, crafty guard. She is deceiving and has great ball handles and a great ability to get to the rim. [Shimoda] is a composed point guard who has matured into this role and does a great job of getting our team on the same page. She has also improved her outside shot to be a consistent threat outside.”
Though the team doesn’t have a lot of height, it’s quick and feisty and plays excellent defense. Hunsaker said the team is also good in transition offense, which will be a real strength this season. Because of its lack of tall players, Olympus will face some challenges when it comes to interior defense and rebounding.
“Height is something we lack for the first time in a few years,” she said. “We need to learn how to really box out and not rely on hops to get rebounds. A team effort that everyone commits to boxing out their girl.”
Hunsaker has high expectations this season and is pleased with the talent and experience at her disposal. She also enjoys that the players get along with one another and have fun away from the gym.
“They are just a fun group of kids,” she said. “We have a great time together, and it isn't necessarily all about basketball either. They care about each other off the court and really emphasize the importance of doing things together outside of basketball.”
The Titans hosted Payson on Nov. 17 to open the season. The first Region 6 game will be Jan. 3 against rival Highland at home. λ