Shown above starting in the front and going left to right is Jamie Cowling, Tanner Bencomo, Ali Cohea and Amanda Talbot. In the back row, from left to right is Passion Hunter-Edwards, Olivia Brown, Kate Boedeker, Brittni Hagemier, Brittany King and Hannah Arne.
Going into this year’s basketball season Lady Indians Head Coach Hector Bencomo said he has high hopes on what his girls can do.
One of his big plans is to improve their defensive game and eliminate the easy baskets.
“We need to make more stops than we did last year,” said Bencomo. “Last year we showed we can score, but there were times during close games we gave the easy basket and weren’t able to get back on defense to stop the run or the shot.”
Overall, Bencomo said he plans on keeping things as they did last year, as far as being able to work the court and most importantly working as a team. However, offensively he said they have to increase their full court press and implement the half court press.
“We have certain plays that we jump to the press, but we do so and then go back to our regular setting,” said Bencomo. “We also need to improve our man to man defense. Teams that go to state have exceptional man to man defense, to a point where it almost sucks the life out of you.”
Unfortunately, that is something Bencomo said they do not have right now, but he is hoping that the leadership of point guard Tanner Bencomo and post Brittani Hagemeier will be able to help with.
“When those two are in sync everything just follows through,” said Bencomo. “If both of them do what they need to be doing, one as the post and the other as a point guard, everybody else will feed off of them and things get rolling.”
However, he added that if just one of them struggles it becomes tough to get the rest of the team moving in the right direction.
“We can do it, but it just becomes more difficult than it should be,” said Bencomo. “Right now, my biggest concerns are academic issues on the team, which we are going to have to address. If we can’t address them soon, there will definitely be a problem.”
In an effort to eliminate the concern, Bencomo said he has been staying late to work with some of the players in struggling areas.
“If we can’t get them there then we may have some players that can’t play, which would be a real heartbreaker for us as a team,” said Bencomo. “But we’re here first for academics and sports second.”
Starting the season off will be Hagemeier, Bencomo, Amanda Talbot on two, Olivia Brown on three and Kate Boedeker on four. However, the starting five could be subject to change.
Lady Indians Head Coach Hector Benocmo
“If we were playing today this is who I would run with,” said Bencomo. “But tomorrow could be a different story.”
The first game to start off the season will be against the Winfield Lady Warriors at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, in Elsberry. Going into the game Bencomo said they will be expecting everybody, especially Winfield, to come at them with everything they have.
“They are feeling what we did to them last year and if we let our guard down, even just for a second, they will capitalize,” said Bencomo. “In basketball anything can happen. In girl’s basketball that’s just the way it is. You can be one of the best teams in the area, but if you don’t come ready to play, then a mediocre team or less could get you.”
Bencomo was not saying Winfield was a mediocre team. In fact, he said they have improved a great deal and are continuing to get better, which is something he wants his girls to understand.
“We cannot go in cocky, we just have to play the way I know we can and let the ball fall where it will,” said Bencomo. “We cannot take anybody lightly this season.”
The goal for this year is to win districts and make it to state and he feels this could be the team to do it. However, he is not overlooking the “what if’s” or the “unforeseeable.”
“For all my life this is what I want to do and what I know we can do,” said Bencomo. “Make it through regular season, win Districts and go to state. I have high hopes in this team that they will rise to the occasion and be able to take on the challenge head first, because it will be a challenge.”