The Highland girls’ basketball program is hoping it can build on last year’s 13-11 (10-4 in league play) record and continue improving in the win column under coach Whitney Levering Smith.
In her fifth year as coach of the team, Levering Smith has seen her Scots improve in wins every season. They won seven games in her first year, eight in her second, 10 in her third and 13 last year.
Helping in that aspect is the simple fact that Highland returns the vast majority of last year’s team.
“Highland returns their entire roster from last season’s team minus Raven Tilford,” said the coach. “Including leading scorer Madison Cecil and leading rebounding Gena West.”
While Tilford was a starting post player, Levering Smith noted that she likes what she has on her current roster.
“We have 10 players with varsity experience and a deep athletic bench to go to for subs,” she said. “All players have different sets of skills that we can rely on throughout the game depending on who we play. I see each player as a different type of weapon that we can use at different points in the game.”
Levering Smith added that one thing her players need to work on is finding their best role for the team and bringing it all together as one.
While the Scots return a lot of experience with six seniors on the team in Cecil, West, Brooklyn Baird, Brooklyn Geiger, Lora Ruehrmund and Darcie Walters, there will be room for some new blood. Levering Smith said that sophomore Brylinn Tuggle, who saw some varsity action last year, will be a full-time varsity player this season and will bring extra speed on the court. Also, junior Maddy Gordon will help complement West in the post.
In the league, she looks at Cardington and Mount Gilead as the top competition, but feels that there will be a lot of quality competition.
“I feel as if our conference this year is the best it has been in a long time,” she said. “We have a lot of teams that are bringing back a lot of players with experience and skill. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that each game will be competitive and not a single game will be simply given to a team. We hope that we can compete in each and every game that we play in and end up in the top four of our conference and get to improve our tournament run from last year.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS