BLHS girls’ hoops team begins year with new coach
Last year's Basehor-Linwood girl's basketball team achieved their team motto of "Cross the Line." The Lady Bobcats had the program's first winning record five years finishing 12-10.
This year, the Lady 'Cats return five starters and most all role players. There will be one major chang --former assistant coach Noah Simpson took over the helm after Tami Holthus resigned in March.
"Last year was a huge step in the right direction with the girls accomplishing a winning season," Simpson said. "The girls fought hard and were competitive in most games they played. I believe they grew up a lot last year as players and individuals."
Simpson will have plenty of talent. Starters Brooke Sanders, Michelle Chrisman, Bren Koontz, Cassie Lombardino and Ashley Jeannin give the team a rock-solid nucleus.
Kara Douglas, who started in place of an injured Chrisman after a mid-season injury, also returns.
"We will rely on 9-10 players to help us this year," Simpson said. "We have changed the tempo and will need everyone to take an active role in our success. We will obviously rely on the six seniors to be leaders on and off the court, and for all players suiting up in a varsity game to be ready to play and to handle the situations we are in."
As well as upping the tempo, Simpson said the team would be more aggressive on defense and in more of an "attack mode" on offense. Simpson said the style of play will be much different than last years, and said the girls were adapting well to it.
"We are looking to push the ball on both misses and makes, and wanting to really get after it on defense," Simpson said.
After a bevy of low-scoring games last year as a result of Holthus' deliberate offense coupled with a tough defense, a vastly overhauled playing style will be the thing to keep an eye on.
Simpson said he has seen players willing to work hard.
"We have put together some very difficult practices, both mentally and physically, and the girls are taking it head-on," Simpson said. "This group of girls does a wonderful job of working hard and pushing themselves and each other. We are continuing to get better everyday and to get in better shape everyday and that is all that you can ask for as a coach."
Simpson said his team had season goals, but the coach did not disclose what those were.
"We expect to be a very hard working team and to come together as a team--all while striving to have fun playing the game we all love," Simpson said.
Along with the returning talent, this team's biggest strength may be their familiarity with each other's games. Simpson said the majority of the program, from freshmen to seniors, played summer basketball in MAYB tournaments.
"With only had one graduate last year and 9-10 players returning to the lineup, I am not sure that any will need to take on a bigger role," he said. They just need to understand what each one's role is and how it will impact the game."
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