Updated Mon, Nov 28, 2011 9:53 pm
The Athens High School girls’ varsity basketball team will be seeking to use the 2011-2012 campaign to earn their first winning season in recent memory. The Lady Bulldogs will have to survive play in a deep TVC-Ohio League if they want to accomplish their lofty goals for the year, but there is reason to believe that this winter will be a special one for Athens. The Lady Bulldogs enter this season coming off a 9-9 mark last year, their best record in over five years. Confidence is rising in a program that has had steady improvement, in terms of number of wins, for half of a decade.
More significantly though, Athens brings a lot of experience to the court. Five returning seniors will contribute wisdom to a deep and talented roster that also includes two juniors, three sophomores, and two freshmen. The combination of familiarity and youth will be a lethal mixture for head coach Wayne Horsley to channel into success on the court. Another advantage the Lady Bulldogs will look to utilize is their height. Senior center Elena Lein and the junior duo of center Emma Stanley and forward Natalie Coschigano both tower over the six-foot mark. With eight girls that stand at least 5’8” tall, you will be hard pressed to find a girls’ team with as much size as Athens.
Shooting precision is also another tool this team will use in their pursuit of a playoff spot. Seniors Katie McCollum, Gracie Staten, Tiffany James, and Eliza Christiansen are Athens’ most experienced options to lead the scoring assault from the perimeter.
The rigors of a season in TVC-Ohio action bring challenges to any team, and Athens will certainly be no different. Overcoming the loss of last year’s seniors, Jamie Sindelar and Emily Hopton will be a daunting task. However, their girls’ coach is confident in their ability to persevere and succeed.
“I don’t know if you can replace a girl like Jamie [Sindelar],” Horsely said, “she was our moose inside...we just have to have girls to step up and fill the spot and hopefully they will find their own niche.”
Athens has one more team attribute that can propel the Lady Bulldogs from simply a contender to a championship-caliber team.
“The girls have a genuine love for each other,” said Horsely, “I’ve been coaching for a long time and I know that when teammates love each other like our girls do, it can be a big advantage.”
If the ladies from Athens High School are able to bring their experience, youthful exuberance, roster depth, height, shooting precision, and heart to the court each game, you can be assured that this season in The Plains will be special indeed.