Trio of Patriots make 3A All-KingCo

March 1, 2011

By Staff

The Liberty High School girls basketball program had one of its best seasons in several years this winter.

Among the reasons for the Patriots’ success were the contributions of Danni Sjolander, Aspen Winegar and Halie Ericksen.

Danni Sjolander, Liberty senior forward, puts up a shot against Juanita Feb. 8 at the KingCo 3A basketball tournament. By Greg Farrar

All three Liberty players received post-season honors at they led the Patriots to a 15-10 record.

Sjolander was selected to the 3A/2A All-KingCo Conference girls first team. Winegar and Ericksen were picked for the second team.

The trio helped the Patriots reach the 3A Sea-King District Tournament. Liberty had a 9-5 record in league play and tied for third place.

Sjolander, a 6-foot-1 senior, led the Patriots in scoring by averaging 13.1 points per game. She also averaged 2.1 assists, 2.6 blocks, 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

“She had a good year,” Liberty coach Randy Leifer said. “She was really the leader of our team.”

Sjolander, a three-year starter, had three games where she scored 20 or more points. She had a season-high game against Mercer Island in December. Sjolander, who ranked third in league scoring, was a versatile player on offense.

“She can shoot both the outside shot and post up,” Leifer said.

While running the full-court-zone press, Leifer often put Sjolander on the wing instead of having her down low. While it probably took a block or two away from her statistics, it fit best with the players on the team.

“She fit that role a lot better,” Leifer said.

Winegar, a 6-foot junior, and Ericksen, a 5-11 senior, joined with Sjolander to give Liberty a strong rebounding punch.

The all-KingCo first team also included Mercer Island’s Jae Shinn, the conference’s player of the year; Mikayla Jones and Kate Friedman, of Juanita; Hailey Eddings, of Mount Si; and Hunter Hopkins, of Lake Washington.

The second team included Kris Brackmann and Hailey Gullstad, of Mercer Island; and Molly Grager, of Juanita.

On the boys team, Liberty’s Chandler Jenkins earned second-team all-KingCo honors for the second straight year. He averaged 15.9 points and ranked sixth among league scorers. Jenkins finished the season strong, scoring 24 points against Lake Washington and 31 against Mount Si.

The first team included Nate Sikma and Will Locke, of Bellevue; Derek Newhof and Dallas Smith, of Mercer Island; George Valle, of Sammamish; and Matt Staudacher, of Lake Washington. Sikma, son of former Seattle SuperSonic great Jack Sikma, was selected as the conference’s player of the year.

Joining Jenkins on the second team were Trent Riley, of Mount Si; John Steinberg, of Sammamish; Brian Miller, of Mercer Island; and Darien Nelson-Henry, of Lake Washington.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment at

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