A new coach, with a new team, in a (kind of) new program.
That’s the situation that Tiffany Twiddy finds herself in, with her Centralia College women’s basketball team set to return to action after a one-year hiatus that left the Blazers’ cupboard just about completely bare.
CC went 14-10 in the 2021-22 season and made the NWAC tournament with a team entirely comprised of freshmen, but the program unexpectedly lost its coach just before the season began, and without enough time to find a new one, had to close up shop in an unfortunate turn of events.
Now Twiddy — who was hired in June after stints at Pacific Lutheran University and Capital High School — is turning the lights back on, with an entirely new roster.
“It’s been great, honestly,” Twiddy said. “I feel like it’s a really great group. They’re young and they’re still learning. It’s a team full of freshmen, so they’re still learning. We’re trying to be more disciplined and focused in practice and things like that. But I feel like they’re a really great group, great attitudes across the board. It’s a fun group to work with for me.”
The Blazers will be led by a somewhat-local face on the perimeter, with Aberdeen alum Madison Gore coming to the Hub City after earning first-team all-league honors in the 2A EvCo last year.
“She is going to be a stand-out player this year,” Twiddy said. “She’s really athletic, she has good moves around the rim, she’s really crafty. I’m excited to see what she can do this year.”
To compliment Gore on the outside, Twiddy brought in 6-foot, 2-inch Kate Carpenter, who led the state of Nevada in blocks last winter as a senior at McQueen High School in Reno.
“She had some injuries throughout her high school career,” Twiddy said. “I really don’t even think she’s unpacked just how good she is.”
Locally, the Blazers bring Callie Lawrence, who starred for Onalaska — and made the all-area soccer team before beginning her college career at Lower Columbia last year.
Centralia College begins its season this weekend with a pair of games at Lane Community College, before going to Skagit Valley next Wednesday. The Blazers will be back for their first home game in over 600 days on Nov. 28, when they host Olympic College at Michael Smith Gymnasium to officially complete their comeback.
“That piece has been really exciting,” Twiddy said. “Getting to talk to people about Centralia College, even in the recruiting process, and say, ‘You know, we are kind of a brand-new group but we do have a tradition of success, and trying to bring that back.’ It’s been an encouraging thing to try to push that. We didn’t have a season, but we’re going to try to bring that winning tradition back here.”