Chemistry on the court
Basehor-Linwood girls basketball players hoping success during volleyball
Volleyball season is over for Basehor-Linwood High School's six super sophomores, but they don't have much time to rest.
Five of the six will figure prominently in the upcoming basketball season, and the one who isn't playing basketball, Jennifer Sirridge, has another game on her mind.
"I'm concentrating on softball right now and working out about two or three hours a week to get ready," Sirridge said.
Meanwhile, Sirridge's cohorts had a brief break before hitting the hardwood again.
"All the volleyball girls took last week off," Ashley Jeannin said. "Then this week we started after-school conditioning."
Yes, it's hard to keep this class off the athletic fields or out of the gym. Which is fortunate for BLHS, because the sophomores have raised the standards of play for everyone. Sirridge, Jeannin, Brooke Sanders, Michelle Chrisman, Cassie Lombardino and Chelsey Patton secured six of the nine varsity spots in the volleyball program, and the names should be pretty familiar once the varsity basketball roster is set.
There's a certain degree of mystery for the basketball players with new coach Tami Holthus taking over, but Sanders, Jeannin, Chrisman and Lombardino started most games as freshmen and it's hard to imagine that they wouldn't play significant roles this year.
Patton is the only one without a proven varsity record, but the athleticism she showed on the volleyball court suggests she could be a contributor for the basketball team, too.
"If she works hard and everything falls right I think Chelsey can help us a lot," Jeannin said.
What is it about this group of sophomores that has allowed it to take over the girls' athletic scene at BLHS? Sirridge said that they have great chemistry, and share a serious passion for sports.
"They all work hard at what they play," she said, modestly leaving herself out of the mix. "They're all pretty competitive."
Another nice thing about the six sophomores is that their athletic gifts tend to balance each other out.
Jeannin and Sirridge have the quickness to excel on the backline in volleyball or the backcourt in basketball.
Lombardino and Patton have the height and agility to dominate at the net or in the paint.
And Sanders and Chrisman have the right mix of quickness, height and leaping ability to do a little of everything.
Still, perhaps the most important secret to the sophomores' success is that they get along. There's no jealousy or finger pointing, which is key when a group like this spends every day together in practice or traveling on a bus, season after season.
"I don't think we ever get tired of each other," Jeannin said. "We always have fun together and we always have a really good time. We love hanging out with each other and I don't really ever feel like there's negative energy."
The girls will hit the hardwood for real Monday, Nov. 14, the day the Kansas State Activities Associations allows all winter sports teams to begin practices.