Cards on lookout for go-to gal
Kimberlin working to establish leadership on 2004 girls squad
For Eudora Cardinals girls basketball coach Cara Kimberlin, the season will begin with a bit of a hole.
"We've lost about 30 points a game," said Coach Kimberlin.
The Cardinals will tip off at 7 p.m. Monday in the Eudora Invitational Tournament against Turner without key players from a successful 2003-2004 season; players who helped the squad to a 16-7 overall record and who were good enough for third-place in the Frontier League and sub-state runners-up.
The team will have to deal without the leadership and scoring of seniors Rachel Abel, Ashley Moran, Jodi Wingebach and Lauren Kracl. For Kimberlin, the departure of Kracl, who averaged 24 points a game, is particularly hard.
"All of our players knew who our go-to person was," she said. "Lauren was our first look. We don't have that go-to person now, so everyone is going to have to be a scoring threat."
The Cardinals will look to some familiar faces to fill the gaps left by the departing seniors. Five players who logged varsity minutes return from last year's squad. Junior Michelle Deluna, who averaged 11 points a game a year ago, will take over ball-handling duties.
The coach also had high hopes for senior Kayla Moyer.
"Kayla's a great defensive player," she said. "Her confidence in her shots has improved from last year."
The Cardinals will rely on sophomore Erin Kracl, sister of the departed Lauren, for size and scoring.
"Last year she knew that big sister would do the scoring," said coach Kimberlin. "She's our size on the floor, and she'll have to work harder to rebound for us."
Junior Carrie Lister, who started on the junior varsity last year, has worked her way onto the varsity squad this year. Her hard work did not go unnoticed by her coach.
"Carrie is the hardest worker on the team," Kimberlin said. "There were some nights that she would stay and shoot free-throws, and I would have to run her off because I wanted to go home. Hard work like that has to be rewarded."
The Cardinals will round out the starting lineup with senior Alissa Hamilton, who saw varsity time last year but will need to be careful of her physical play which sometimes leads to early foul trouble.
Eudora will also be counting on a bench that has some varsity experience.
"We have a core of juniors and seniors coming off the bench," said Kimberlin.
That core includes seniors Jamie Bowser and Joni Ridinger and juniors Emily Gloshen, Tara Brecheisen and Laura Williams.
All of these players will fill roles on a squad looking to sustain last year's momentum, despite the critical losses.
"Everyone has to do a job in order for us to succeed," Kimberlin said.
The coach said there would be nights when teamwork alone would not win, but if they could just play well, then what could happen would be anyone's guess.
"If we can just play good defense and keep our opponents to 40 points a night, then we can be in every game," Kimberlin said.
Eudora will play Turner at 7 p.m. Monday at Eudora High School, 2203 Church St.