By Andrew Butler, Times Standard
College of the Redwoods women’s basketball will add six local players to its roster this fall as second-year head coach Jain Tuey looks to rebuild her ranks after a depleted 2017-18 season during which her team was reduced, through injury and ineligibility, to just five players.
Tuey, a Fortuna High and Redwoods alum herself, said she’s thrilled that her and her staff were able to retain so many talented young student athletes in the area to come play for Redwoods.
“For whatever reason, these girls are wanting more and more to stick around. All our local girls this year have played on AAU teams together,” Tuey said.
So far Tuey has commitments from eight players, six of them local. One player each from Arcata, Fortuna, McKinleyville and Hoopa, and two from St. Bernard’s make up the local portion of the recruiting class. They will join returning sophomores Bobbie Purify, Taylor Murray and Sheriah White.
Tuey said she’s already begun game planning for her new team and is confident her recruits can fill the shoes of her graduated players, most notably Sophie Northern who lead the Golden Valley Conference in scoring at 20 ppg this past winter.
Northern’s sister, Bree Northern, is one of the new faces, and joins the program from Arcata High after averaging more than 12 ppg in her senior season with the Tigers.
“Bree has great leadership qualities. She came to our spring workouts and in a short time really excelled and built a presence with the team,” Tuey said. “She’s a huge asset for our team.”
Tuey said she will also rely on her two St. Bernard graduates, Jayden Johnson and Abiona Katri, to score and fill large roles in the team.
“Jayden is solid and we’re going to rely on her a lot,” Tuey said. “I’m excited to see Abiona grow, I think she can do a lot more than she did in high school.”
Faith Tracy, a 5’8” forward out of Hoopa Valley, peeked Tuey’s interest because of her grind-it-out mentality and her ability to “do whatever needs to be done,” during the course of a game.
McKinleyville’s Makenzi Sand and Fortuna’s Darienne Kartes round out the local group of the recruiting class.
Tuey said Sand is a terrific teammate and the kind of positive influence that makes a locker room better. Kartes, a six footer, can shoot mid-range and will help a Corsair roster which lacked any sort of a real presence in the post a season ago.
Despite a reduced roster last season, the Redwoods women managed to win nine of their 24 games. This coming seasons batch of reinforcements will, according to Tuey, take the pressure off her returning players and allow them to excel.
“Last year, everyone had to play out of position,” Tuey said. “There were a lot of things, game-play wise, that I couldn’t do because we just didn’t have enough players.”
Redwoods Athletic Director Bob Brown said he’s excited about the upcoming season and said that Tuey has done a great job reaching out to local players and getting them to come to Redwoods.
“Tuey has worked very hard, she hit the ground running here and has done a great job reaching out to local recruits,” Brown said.