The Marion High School girls’ basketball team is loaded with experience, with five players who started games last year returning for 2012-13.
Erin Meierhoff, Katey Ehrlich, Megan Richmond, Kelli Hess, and Kaelyn Thierolf bring a lot of continuity back from the previous season.
“We need these players to continue to improve their personal skills, especially handling the basketball,” head coach Kelly Robson said. “So far, they have shown good leadership for our team. We will need them to continue to provide positive examples for our younger players in their work habits and attitudes.”
Only one player from last year’s team graduated, but it is a notable loss as Whitney Gordon is now playing basketball at the University of Wyoming.
“Seniors Balee Shiplet and Ericka Herzet and sophomore Julia Hall will need to have a larger part this year,” Robson said. “Conditioning was an issue last year, because the bench was not very deep. We will need these players to show enough improvement to provide some quality minutes for us.”
Because the team won’t have a lot of height but does have good speed, Robson wants to focus on defense and a fast-paced offense.
“We are a new coaching staff this year, so there is a lot of new information for the girls to grasp,” he said. “It is difficult to get everything running the way we would like it as we get to know one another and learn a new system.”
He doesn’t have any expectations of who the team’s statistical leaders will be.
“I would expect any of the returning players to be able to lead our scoring on any given night, but each night will be a story to itself,” Robson said. “We have a flexible lineup as far as positions go. Many of the players are similar in height, as well as ability, so most of the girls will be asked to play multiple spots on the floor.”
When Robson talks about wanting a successful first season as coach, he doesn’t talk about wins and losses or the postseason. He talks about improvement and enjoyment.
“Every season, success is about improvement,” he said. “If we make the effort to improve each day, I believe we’ll see good growth as a team and as individual players.
“I’d like to see the girls enjoy the sport more. Too often we all get our focus on winning and losing, and we forget to enjoy the game and the journey. We certainly hope to win games, but I won’t define our success by that. I count seasons successful when the players are better athletes and better people at the end of the season than when we started.”
Mark Felvus is the assistant coach.
The Lady Warriors begin their season Nov. 30 at Southeast of Saline.