Lady Highlanders unite and play hard for victory

Alison Akermon

With the hard, long practices and weeks of dedication, the girls’ varsity basketball team has been preparing for the tough season that they have to endure. Starting off the season with a lot of heart, the girls have realized that they must come together and play as a team to become successful.

“I think we have achieved unity and not many teams can say they play for each other and as a team. We have great chemistry on the floor which improves all of our games immensely,” said senior Madison Kaiser.

Kaiser said that the team has really exceeded her expectations as well as everyone else’s.

“I think the main goal is to play with effort and to play as a team. I think so far we have become a close knit team and this will help against the competition,” said senior Olivia Hudson.

Head coach Kirk Hamsley agreed that the team is coming together and playing well, but believes that there is more to be worked on.

“The season so far is going fair, we haven’t excelled where we need to yet, but we are going to try to,” said Hamsley.

So far the players believe that they are having a better season than last year. They all agree that they are working more as a team and playing harder.

“I think we are definitely doing better now than we did last year, but we still have a long way to go. We have come together really well and have started doing some of the little things that we kind of looked over last year,”  said junior Kristen Burger.

The Lady Highlanders have a lot of youth to work with this season. Although they are young, they have a lot of uprising talent.

“To be honest, this season has really surprised me. Some of the younger players have really stepped up,” said Kaiser.

The girls’ varsity basketball team lost a lot of seniors at the end of last years’ season. Players had to step up this year to fill in the open spots that the last years players had left them in order to have a successful season.

“We lost four starters, and  it made a huge difference in our experience,” said Hamsley.

The girls have had to work ten times harder to fill these positions that were left to them.

“We lost a lot of seniors last year and with that, we lost a lot of their experience. They had a lot of scoring ability and confidence. This year we need more confidence on offense and defense in our abilities. Our biggest advantage as a team is how well we play together. Communicating on offense and defense is a key factor in how we will play,” said senior Katyn Bierman.

The girls believe that to be successful, they will need to score more points and allow fewer points. It will take more aggression and confidence from both ends of the court in order to accomplish the goals they have.

“Each person has had to step up and make themselves a scoring threat since some of our seniors did a lot of scoring last year. We’ve also picked up our defensive intensity and need to keep on doing that,” said junior Maddie Probus.

The girls has already began their season and have learned what it is going to take to keep having a successful one.

“We have to stay focused and play as hard as we can every second. We can’t take a play off. We need to continue to use our team chemistry to our advantage,” said junior Morgan Wagoner.

The girls have been playing hard and each individual player knows exactly what they need to improve on and how they are going to do it.

“ I think we need to improve on ball control and setting up an offense, myself included. If we continue to do what we are doing with some improvements, we could achieve our goal of being sectional champs,” said Kaiser.

The girls have been preparing for this season and giving their all in practice every single day. Coach Hamsley has been pushing them to do their best so they can achieve their goal of winning Sectionals.

“We started open gym on August 4th, and we have been practicing since the season started on October 27th. We have been practicing for two in a half to three hours a day, every day, six days a week,” said Hamsley.

Hamsley knows exactly what the teams strengths are and also what they need to work on and that is what they focus on at practice.

“We have been practicing day in and day out. Coach preaches to us a lot about defense, blocking out, and being smart with the ball,” said Probus.

The girls know that they need to focus more and continue what they are doing in practice and bring that out on to the floor.

“We have been shooting more than in the past years for sure, but there has also been more focus on the fundamental aspects of the game. A lot of passing and ball handling, trying to get ready for the pressure that teams will put on us,” said Burger.

The team has a tough schedule this season and many talented teams to face. A few players have agreed that this year they have made their biggest rival is Bedford North Lawrence.

“They’ve been the best team in the conference the past couple of years and have won state the past two years. They’ve lost a couple seniors and have a new coach this year. We lost against them two years ago in the sectional championship and last year in the first round of sectionals. They are definitely our biggest rival this year,” said Bierman.

The girls’  varsity basketball team is plans to keep pushing themselves every game and bring what they have been practicing out on the court to achieve their goals this year and win sectionals.

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