Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Girls hope balance pays big in new season

November 30, 2006

Some athletic teams are known for their speed while others are known for their strength. However, Eudora girls basketball coach Ryan Luke said he thought his team would be known for something else -- balance.

"The thing I like about the team is that we're really balanced," Luke said.

And being balanced is exactly what the basketball team needs if the members hope to come out on top, Luke said.

"The goal is to win our conference," Luke said. "We also always want to be at the front half of conference. From there, our goal is to make the state tournament in February."

Luke said those were several goals he and the team agreed upon. He said the girls are working very hard right now in their first weeks of practice to try and achieve those goals.

Several factors will help contribute to realizing those goals, Luke said. Chief among them was how far the team had come from the beginning of last season to the beginning of this season.

"We've improved a lot since last year on things we know," Luke said. "We're a step ahead from where we were last year. And we're a pretty young team -- we only have one senior, four juniors and five sophomores that will see playing time."

Sophomore Haley Epperson said one advantage to being more prepared than previous years was the fact the team was already more established and specific game plans could be tailored to fit its personality. She said because of the balanced quickness of the team, the girls would be able to execute a potent running game.

Luke said although the team lost its top four scorers last year, he did not feel that would be a handicap.

"Realistically, we are losing four of our top scorers from last year," Luke said. "I really do think that just from watching this team, though, we're going to have girls step up and do what they need to do."

And although it is a young team with only two returning girls with a significant amount of experience, Luke said he expected Rachel Pyle, Elaina Kouri, Allison Braden and Epperson to help lead the team, even though they aren't seniors.

Luke said the plan of attack was to take the season just one game at a time rather than looking too far into the future.

"We don't like to overlook anybody," Luke said. "We play Bishop Ward first; from there it's just a game at a time. Our goal is to not lose any ground we made. We're also preparing for the Frontier League. It starts Dec. 18, and a good standing is a goal of ours."

Epperson said she was looking forward to the first game of the season and the season as a whole.

"Practices are really intense," Epperson said. "I'm very excited about our first game. I think we're going to come out real strong."

The Cardinals play their first game at 7 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts the Eudora Invitational Tournament.

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