• Last modified 609 days ago (Dec. 9, 2020)


Girls coach expecting quick start in 2nd year

Staff writer

Entering his second season coaching Marion girls basketball, Jason Hett is looking forward to a faster learning curve than last year.

“They know some of the stuff we want to do,” he said. “They have a year under their belts. Hopefully we can jump right into things and everything’s not new to the girls anymore. I think that’ll help us a little bit

With 15 girls on the team, including a handful of players with varsity experience, the team is looking to improve on its three wins from last season.

Hett sees an increased urgency in getting the most out of each day and maximizing potential, especially with no guarantees about how the next day will go.

“That’s nothing we can control,” he said. “When we get the opportunity to get the green light, we’re going to come in, we’re going to enjoy it and take it one day at a time.”

There are aspects Hett admits are completely new. One of the changes that will take the most getting used to is playing in nearly empty gymnasiums.

“I’ve probably never played a basketball game without any fans,” he said. “I don’t know how that would all even look. It’s obviously a lot different.”

Fans now will be allowed at games, but only two for each participant. Kansas High School Athletic Association changed its original decision not to allow fans until after Jan. 28.

Even with changes, Hett has managed to keep his mindset as a coach the same. He sees the new challenges as hurdles to be overcome, just like any other year.

“Every team, every year possesses its own challenges,” he said. “Every year your team is a little different, and as a coach you have to learn each team, each year. That’s one of the challenges I probably enjoy most out of coaching.”

While there no Marion games canceled or rescheduled yet, Hett realizes that might not stay the case.

“We’re planning on playing our schedule we have in place,” he said. “As things come up there may be changes that have to be made.”

The team opened its season Friday with a trip to Goessel, losing a 44-42 heartbreaker.

Things were looking rosy late in the third quarter as Jaden Slifer a three-pointer, and a traditional three-point play by Megan Neufeld put the Warriors ahead 29-21.

The Bluebirds then scored 14 unanswered points to retake the lead, but scrappy defense and aggressive rebounding helped the Warriors get back into the game.

A three-pointer by Calli Burkholder and a second-chance basket by Neufeld got Marion to 43-42 with 40 seconds to play, but Goessel made a late free throw to escape with the victory.

Neufeld led Marion with 11 points, Jayden May added 10, and Jaden Slifer had 9.

Marion returned to play Tuesday with a game in its annual home tournament.

Last modified Dec. 9, 2020