Posted 11/24/15 (Tue)
By Jody Michael
The first girls’ basketball contests of the 2015-16 season take place next week, with all area teams in action. The following week, beginning Dec. 7, will be the annual tip-off tournament in Tioga.
Coaches said their teams are working hard to prepare for their first games.
Divide County Maroons
DC head coach Kent Harding said he is busy developing a new gameplan to keep the Maroons competitive now that the school’s all-time scoring leader, Hannah Jacobs, has graduated.
“There are a lot of question marks,” Harding said. “We’re going to have a different identity this year. We are going to do things differently. It’s going to take time to figure everything out.”
The same sort of tinkering was necessary at the start of last season, as the Maroons lost four of their first six games before winning 12 of their next 13 (they finished 15-7).
“This Tioga tournament is good for finding out what works, and we’ll see how fast we can adjust,” Harding said.
The Maroons will be relatively lacking in height, but its mostly young lineup does boast significant varsity experience among even the freshmen and sophomores.
“I hope we can be a little quicker of a team now and push the ball a little more, put pressure on teams,” Harding said. “We don’t have the bigger post players anymore. We need to be a better perimeter shooting team and hopefully manufacture some points off the break.”
The Maroons play in Mohall on Dec. 3 at 7:15 p.m., then face Ray in Tioga on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. Their home opener is Dec. 29 vs. Parshall.
Burke County Titans
The Titans must adjust to the graduation of three starters, all key scorers, from last season’s team, which finished 11-12.
“We return three girls who put in real experience last year,” head coach Aaron Haggin said. “We’ll be playing a lot of younger kids, and we do have one senior joining us who hasn’t played in a while and can add a little leadership.”
Haggin said he hopes the Titans will be particularly competitive on defense, as generating offense might be more of a challenge.
“We’ve got to try to get the ball moving,” Haggin said. “Lots of screens and cuts, and eliminate as much dribbling as possible.”
BC starts play Tuesday at the new South Prairie school to open the Royals’ inaugural season. The Titans have a Dec. 3 home game in Bowbells vs. Sawyer, then face Tioga on the road Dec. 8.
Area coaches were unanimous in eyeing Ray and Stanley as the favorites in District 16.
“Stanley will be very good; Ray is going to be very good,” Harding said. “We hope to be competitive.”
“Ray and Stanley will probably be in the top, and Powers Lake returns everyone,” Haggin said. “After that, it’s a question of who’s going to be the fourth seed between us, Divide, Tioga and Kenmare.”
Jays head coach Matt Ray agreed that his team is capable of vying for the district crown.
“I see us and Stanley being the top two,” Ray said. “Stanley’s pretty tough, and Powers Lake should be good, because they didn’t lose anybody. You never know, but we’re hoping to be at the top.”