Britney Knotts knows she is stepping into a prime coaching position at Washougal High School.
The Panther girls basketball team has made it to the state tournament the two previous seasons. The 29-year-old hopes to lead them to a third trip this winter, and many more in the future.
“I can’t keep these girls off the court,” Knotts said. “They expect to go back to state, and I expect them to go back to state.”
Knotts has been intertwined with basketball for 22 years. After graduating from Mountain View High School in 2006, she played the game at Chemeketa Community College and Evergreen State College. She spent a year as the varsity assistant coach for the Mountain View girls basketball program. She has also taught youth clinics and camps.
Throughout this whole time, Knotts dreamed of an opportunity to become a head coach. She gets her shot at Washougal.
“I want to bring in a family dynamic because that’s what I feel like I had when I was in high school,” Knotts said. “It’s important for the kids to feel welcome so that they want to show up and want to work hard for each other.”
Knotts hopes to channel the spirit of her former mentors while adopting her own coaching style.
Her high school coach, Jamie Johnston sparked a flame that still burns inside.
“He was so intense,” she said. “He wanted us to thrive, and he would do whatever he could to get us fired up every game.
“Practices were the same way,” she added. “They had to be intense. They had to be at that standard.”
Knotts learned a lot from Karrin Wilson, who coaches at Heritage High School, and Angie Rosales, who played for Prairie High School.
She thanks Dave McIntosh for taking her under his wing this past year at Mountain View.
“They have all had a big impact on me and my style and what I expect from the kids,” Knotts said.
The Panthers got off on the right foot with their new coach by winning a tournament at Mountain View High School, June 2-4. Washougal went 7-0 against schools from Portland, Oregon, and Southwest Washington.
“This was their first time playing together with all the key pieces,” Knotts said. “It was great to see them play and working hard throughout the whole game.”
She is excited to have a deep bench filled by versatile players.
“I feel confident that I can pull a player out, put another player in and keep that same intensity and that same drive during the game,” Knotts said.
“I want them to battle from the second they step on the court to the second they step off,” she added. “And they love to do it, so that’s really fun.”
Knotts loves the way these Panthers go to the ground fighting for the ball. It reminds her of how she played the game growing up.
“They might get hurt. They don’t care. They’re getting up and they’re just going to go right back at it,” Knotts said. “Like I said, I can’t keep them off the court. It’s a great problem to have and a great environment to be around.”