Women’s basketball aims to move forward from last year’s rebuild


Veronica Teeter

SHOOTAROUND: Senior Kiara Gill passes the ball during a drill as the team looks on. The team opens the season with a long road trip to Homestead.

Kiersten Riedford

On Nov. 9, the women’s basketball team will take the court to open its 2019-20 season with an away game against Homestead High School. Due to the low-cut nature of tryouts, returning players said they had already formed a close bond as they began official practices. According to both players and coaches, this season, the athletes are focusing on bettering themselves and the team as a whole in hopes to change their ranking at the end of the season. Last season, the team dropped from first to 17th, its lowest ranking in four years.

Erin Trimpe, head varsity women’s basketball coach, said, “I think that any coach will tell you that rankings don’t really matter; what you’re more focused on is seeing improvement throughout the season and the things that we need to work on that they are getting worked on and getting improved upon. So, we don’t really pay attention to (the ranking) as we go through the season, and I think most teams will tell you that same thing. The girls went through a lot last year; they had to transition to a new coach, then that new coach was injured so they transitioned to another new coach, so there (were) a lot of things beyond basketball that were going on so that was a lot of trying to rebuild and refocus everyone into the game and help them, not just as athletes, but as kids dealing with that adversity.”

Kiara Gill, point guard and senior, detailed the preparations for the season. “We have been working really hard through conditioning, and we have just been starting to put in our plays. Everyone is really excited for this year and we are eager to do well,” Gill said. “We are adding in practices for free throws, which is a really important part of the game. We all need to make sure we can have a ‘we above me’ philosophy… the whole team this year is all best friends and it’s a really great atmosphere to be around, so everyone wants to help in any way that they can.”

Breanna Bolles, shooting guard and senior, discussed the transition to a new team.

Bolles said, “We’ve been going two days a week and it’s been hard without the fall athletes, but we are continuing to put in offenses and work together and grow because we did lose four starting seniors last year so it’s difficult adjusting.”

According to Bolles and Gill, the players are also focusing on team chemistry and team bonding since they said these elements were lacking last season.

Bolles said, “I think, as a whole, we are planning on working more as a team and not as individually as we did in the past years. We’re coming from a year where we have a lot of talent but it’s just spread around the team a little bit more so I think grasping that and putting it all together will help.”

Gill said, “We all have been taking care of each other more. All of the seniors are leading our underclassmen and we have a ‘take-you-under-my-wing’ type of situation this year for sure. I love all of our freshmen and I want to make sure that they’re comfortable with the program. They know what to expect, so we’re all just trying to have a fun time which will help us do well anyway.

SOFT TOUCH: Senior Kiara Gill shoots a floater during practice. Gill said the team shared a close bond even before tryouts commenced, adding that those bonds will be crucial for a successful season.
Veronica Teeter
Senior Kiara Gill shoots a floater during practice. Gill said the team shared a close bond even before tryouts commenced, adding that those bonds will be crucial for a successful season.

“We will have team bonding in a couple weeks but just, in general, we are all just goofy; we love having fun with each other. We are going to be having a lot of sleepovers this year because we all want to hang out. We sometimes have rules where seniors shouldn’t be together and be with freshmen during certain drills or free throw time during practice just to make sure everyone is getting to know everyone.”

Bolles and Gill said they want to work on their skills not only when they are in the gym, running plays and preparing for their opponents, but also when they’re at home—they want players to focus on bettering themselves through individual workouts.

Bolles said, “We should be scouting and preparing for Homestead. I would hope we would be doing (that during the) week. After our scrimmage, we should be gearing up, learning their plays, setting up defenses and offenses and getting our scouting report under control.”

Gill said, “We all need to make sure we know what we’re doing because my coach does love plays and will have up to 20 that we’re executing in two days and we need to know how to do all of them.”

Until the season officially begins, according to Gill, the players are focusing on making the season as fun as possible as a way to help them boost their confidence and rise up through the ranks from the start of the season until the end.

Gill said, “I think this year basketball is going to be a fun experience. I think that you can see when you come to our games that we really are enjoying ourselves, whether that’s a dance or a celebration on the sideline or a huge play happens and everyone’s hype about it. I’m lucky to be a part of it this year. I’m so excited;  they’re all my best friends. You don’t get to say you that you have 20 new best friends every year because of doing a sport. I think it’s just a great atmosphere, and my coach has really pushed us to create a good culture and I hope that we can do that.”