As a Team: Girls Basketball 2016

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Addie VonDrehle and Cameron Jantsch

Shoes squeaking and arms swinging, 5-foot-6 senior Tyler Keys is smacked in the face by the brown ponytail of a 6-foot-4 center. A surge of energy went through her. 

“Get the rebound.”

She weaves between the looming opponents, reaching for the ball. But Keys’ height didn’t compare to her opponent’s 6 foot stature, snatching and shooting the ball above her head. The scoreboard lights up the opponents’ score; now a 22 point lead. 

With an extreme lack of height after losing their tallest player, junior Sofia Stechschulte, the girls’ basketball team was left in need of position adjustments. The next tallest player, Katie Hise, measured 5-foot-11, making her on the shorter end for the taller positions, while the rest of the girls stood around 5-foot-6, similar to Keys. 

Due to these circumstances, there were no longer enough players to fill the positions requiring taller players. 

But the girls’ varsity team was determined. Determined to improve their skill level and determined to improve their record, despite the main setback of having short players. 

“We want to be tough and quick, rather than rely on height,” junior Caroline Blubaugh said. “For the lack of height, we want to be an energetic team.”

While the height of the team made choosing positions a challenge, Coach Lawrence emphasized this by giving players the chance to learn different positions by practicing new drills. Instead of separating into the different position’s groups during drills, such as post and guard groups, each player had to participate in every position. 

“The coaches really emphasize that no matter how tall you are, you could post up or handle the ball at some point in the game,” Keys said. 

The positivity of the captains helped keep the team focused on the positive sides of having short players, rather than the negatives. The four senior captains, Tyler Keys, Josie Clough, Kyle Haverty and Quincy Bair, used the experience they had playing together for two years to facilitate the transition to different positions. 

“The lack of height has made us focus on our other strengths like our quickness and energy, so as a captain it’s important to help the team see our positives,” Bair said.

While the team wasn’t as successful in winning games as they had hoped, they continued to be optimistic about what the future held, for the team and the program as a whole. 

Bouncing off the rim, Keys snatches the rebound, turning to see her teammates racing the other team down the court. The previous week of practices full of suicides and relay races was paying off. An overhead pass slams into Blubaugh’s hands, who continues to sprint in for a layup. She shoots. The ball smoothly goes through the net. 

They now knew it didn’t take tall players to win. It took their agility, their stamina and their determination.