Basketball girls seek revenge

Defending+the+court%3A+Freshman+Sophie+Cunningham+plays+defense+against+Blue+Springs+Saturday+during+the+Norm+Stewart+Classic+at+Columbia+College.+The+Bruins+had+their+first+loss+of+the+season+to+Blue+Springs+with+a+final+score+of+42-46.+Photo+by+Asa+Lory

Defending the court: Freshman Sophie Cunningham plays defense against Blue Springs Saturday during the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College. The Bruins had their first loss of the season to Blue Springs with a final score of 42-46. Photo by Asa Lory

Emily Wright

Defending the court: Freshman Sophie Cunningham plays defense against Blue Springs Saturday during the Norm Stewart Classic at Columbia College. The Bruins had their first loss of the season to Blue Springs with a final score of 42-46. Photo by Asa Lory
After losing the district finals game to Jefferson City by one point last season, the girls’ basketball team is wanting revenge. These Bruins believe the disappointment and disbelief they experienced after last year’s upset is just the motivation they need to work as one unit to make it to the state championships in March.
“The fact that we lost at districts last year is definitely giving us an edge this year. We want to go out giving it all we can in every game,” senior Nicole Montgomery said. “We know we have what it takes to be at that level, and we just need to keep working hard to get there.”
For Montgomery and her team, “working hard” has meant hours of practice. Since the first week of November, the team has spent two to three hours each day practicing. To Montgomery, improving individual skill is not as important as improving the collective ability of the team to work well together, especially with added freshman Division I recruits Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter.
“It’s good to know we have a lot of good people coming in, and it’s good to challenge yourself against them because you get to think, ‘Oh, I’m playing well against a D-I player,’” Montgomery said. “Integrating them into our plays is really important.”
Assistant coach Amanda Dablemont said this integration has gone smoothly because of impressive efforts by the upperclassmen. In addition, many players are connected through familial ties, helping the youth find their place on the team with ease.
“It’s hard for freshmen to come in and really gel,” Dablemont said. “It’s very unusual for us because the girls are familiar with the freshmen already because their older sisters are already on the team. We are lucky because they are really talented, but they’re already a part of the group.”
In order to help the younger players and older players connect, the coaches held a retreat Nov. 18 where the girls spent the night in the gym. They were grouped by grade level, and each performed a skit making fun of the others. To junior Hannah Dressler, bonding sessions such as this have been key in developing a team which comes together on the court.
“A district championship is our first goal obviously but getting the chemistry going is the most important right now,” Dressler said. “We know we can be a good team, but we have to show it out on the court.”
The girls will try to increase their 3-1 winning record as they take on 2010 state qualifier Lafayette at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at home. They hope early season wins will give them the experience necessary to play well when it matters most — Feb. 20 in the first game of the district tournament.
“We all have one dream of making it to the state championships, making it as far in the post-season as we can,” Dressler said. “So we’re just trying to work our butts off to get to that point so that we don’t end up how we did last year.”
By Emily Wright