Flush with talent
Coach MaryMike Haley and her Lady Titans basketball team have one last chance to dominate the Southern Peaks league before they move on to a new schedule next year. With that in mind, they have their sights set high as they look to come away with a league title—and perhaps even a district championship.
“I’m hoping to come out of the year with those two things,” says Haley. “They can go as far as they want if they pull together as a team.”
Champions are made in the off-season though, and Haley had her team take part in a summer camp at Mesa State College. A handful of individuals threw in some solo work at other basketball camps and the effort looks to have paid off for the team.
“I’ve seen a jump in skills in some of the younger girls,” says Haley. “They’re just maturing.”
With point guard and scoring sensation Emma “Smalls” Vosburg gone from last year’s squad, Haley has 13 players to choose from this year to fill in on offense. Senior captain Sydney Loyed leads the team and is joined by returning post players Sydney Jernigan and Shannon Holleran.
Toni Brown, Karleigh Dean and Natalie Bowen got pivotal varsity time last year and should all be in the starting squad mix this season.
While Dean worked as a guard last year, Haley hopes to use her inside as well in the post.
“She’s not afraid of anything,” says Haley.
In addition, Haley was handed a surprise in freshman Leigh Stichter, a promising point guard.
“She’s bringing in some new energy,” says Haley. “By the time the season gets moving, she’s going to be a force.”
Thrown into the mix are a handful of newbies, as in new to the game, keeping Haley on her toes as she balances the ability of individuals to build a team. Still, there’s something there that has Haley excited about the season.
“There’s a large spectrum of knowledge and talent,” explains Haley. “I’ve got all of the talent I want, though—it’s just how it’s all going to work together.”
One thing is for sure, with Vosburg gone and a core of experienced—and tall—post players returning, Haley will be switching gears a bit on offense.
“I think our posts are going to play a much bigger role this year,” says Haley.
Both the JV and varsity got their first game test in a scrimmage against Cotopaxi last Saturday, which the Lady Titan squads won (the final score was not kept for the scrimmage).
Haley kept her teams focused on their half court game and she saw some encouraging aspects out of each team.
“Both teams did great,” says Haley. “They showed that they can both put it together and run plays. There’s potential if we come together as a team.”
The Lady Titans will begin regular season play on Friday, December 11 when they host Centennial in Mt. Olympus at 5 p.m.