Thompson Steps in as Interim Head Coach

Edmonds Community College women’s basketball Head Coach Eric Ensign has stepped down from his coaching duties. On Jan. 18, Ensign officially resigned, and Assistant Coach Kirsten Thompsonwas named interim head coach for the rest of the season.

This past Summer, Ensign became the new athletic director at Ballard High, and this put him in a difficult spot trying to balance the responsibilities of both jobs. “Any athletic director job is a very taxing, very time demanding job,” said Thompson. “So during the middle of the season he felt that it was reflecting poorly on his health, and so he decided to resign.”

Although Ensign is no longer coaching at EdCC, the impact he had on the basketball program will not be forgotten.

Prior to Ensign’s arrival, the Triton’s had struggled for many years and had not made a playoff appearance since 2010. He was the assistant coach on the Triton’s during their winless season in 2016-17 before he became the head coach for the 2017-18 season. In his first season at the helm, he led the Triton’s to five wins which was the most the team has had in five years!

The Tritons came into the 2018-19 season hoping to build off of some of the momentum from last year. They got off to a strong start to their season by winning seven out of their first 11 games, and tying their win total from the 2012-13 season.

Ensign put in considerable time and effort in the recruiting department, helping Edmonds land many talented players who have made immediate positive impacts on the team. His efforts have given the Tritons a strong base and a formula that will make Edmonds a formidable team for years to come.

Now, it’s now up to Coach Thompson to lead the team for the foreseeable future. Thompson has a very decorated basketball career and she brings with her years of experience of playing at all levels.

In 2005, Thompson prepped at Monroe High School and was ranked as a to 15 player in the country and a top five player at the Center position. She was rewarded for her stellar play by being selected to play in the 2005 McDonald’s All-American game, and this made her the first ever female from Washington State to earn a spot on the roster.

She would then spend the next four years at NCAA D1 Arizona State University where she earned many awards including Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, and Pac-10 Academic honorable mention recognition.

Looking to pursue a career in basketball, Thompson went on to play professionally overseas in Germany, then Greece for a couple years before returning to the United States. Once back, she worked on player development on several AAU
teams, and she was the assistant coach for the Jackson High School women’s team before she landed the job at EdCC.

She was originally brought in to the program to be the assistant coach, but midway through the season Coach Ensign decided to step down and this opened the door for Thompson to take the next step in her coaching career. “Originally I was shocked,” explained Thompson. “But then I told myself, ‘alright, I can do this. It’s just anotherchallenge to step over.’”

Thompson knows what it takes to win, and she will do everything in her power to set these girls up to succeed. She knows it won’t be easy, but her years of experience playing the game will come in handy during her first stint as head coach.

When the news first broke that Ensign would no longer be with the team, it was a surprise to many people, including some of the players.

“I was shocked,” said Guard Gieani Balino, NO. 4 on the Tritons. “Because a lot of us were recruited by him. But we knew we had a new coaching staff, and it was going to be fine.”

After the coaching change, there were a few new offenses and defenses that Thompson implemented that the players would have to learn in a short amount of time.

“They would normally have a month, two months to a few weeks to get ready,” said Thompson. “But we have a few days in the middle of the season to adjust our system, and they have reacted really well to that.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, EdCC won their first game under Coach Thompson with a 75-50 victory over the Shoreline Community College Dolphins. Things really came together for the Tritons as they outscored the Dolphins 21-10 in the fourth quarter. Zaria led the way for the Tritons with 12 points, while Rachael Balagso and Gieani Balino added ten points each.

“We were able to run the ball, and just play together as a team,” said Balino. “Knowing our strengths and using that to our advantage.”

Balino leads the team in scoring on the season with 12.4 points per game, while adding 2.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. She is one of the key contributors for the Tritons and has been a force to be reckoned with every time she steps foot on the court.

There are only a few games left on the season for the Tritons, and they will look to build off of their momentum from their win against Shoreline. Their next matchup is against Bellevue on Feb. 20. As of Feb. 15 the Tritons are 8-8 on the season with a 3-5 record against NWAC North teams.