Talara Frost brought quite a résumé when she was hired last year to coach the Northwest Christian girls basketball team.
A former college player, coach, marketing manager and currently a counselor at Whitworth University, Frost brought all those skills to the court and the locker room to lead the Crusaders to a 26-1 record going into today’s State 2B tournament at the Arena.
She added something perhaps more important, said guard/forward Chanel Knight, the team’s only senior who was admittedly a bit nervous when former coach Ashley Connell left after last season.
“She has worked really hard to build relationships with all of us, not just as players but a personal relationship on and off the court,” Knight said.
In other words, a sense of family, something the Crusaders have prized even more than wins and stat lines during careers that stretch back to elementary school.
That’s no surprise. Married since 2012 to Washington Air Guardsman Tyson Frost, she has four children in their blended family, and has carried that spirit to the basketball team.
“It’s been nice how we bonded,” said the 6-foot-1 Frost, a native of Auburn, Calif., who played as a center in the late 1990s at NAIA Simpson College.
She served for six years as an assistant at Simpson while working in the school’s adult education program, then she ran the basketball program for one season, in 2004-05.
Frost spent several years away from the game, working as a marketing manager at Northern Quest Resort and Casino before becoming an adviser in the adult education program at Whitworth.
“I enjoy helping people reach their goals,” Frost said.
For this year’s Crusaders, that would be a state title, one that eluded them last year in a championship-game loss to Reardan.
Tournament-tested and with a veteran lineup, the Crusaders have endured their share of close games, including three against Colfax. Twice, it fell to Knight to hit the winning shots against the Bulldogs.
After finishing first in the Northeast 2B League, the Crusaders won District 7 2B to get the top seed at subregionals.
They trounced Willapa Valley 64-40 last weekend to reach state.
Averaging 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds, Knight leads a balanced lineup that also includes sophomore guard Rachel Bozlee (12.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg), junior forward Courtney Gray (10.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and junior point guard Treasure Farmer (7.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 4.1 assists per game).
That will come in handy against a daunting bracket, which includes today’s 9 a.m. opener against once-beaten Bear Creek of Seattle. Once-beaten Toutle Lake looms in Friday’s semifinal.
“We’ll take them as they come,” Frost said.