On Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Elsberry Gymnasium, the first battle begins with the two-time defending and runner-up National Champion St. Louis Surge.
This 2018 version of the Midwest Flyers will look very different from years past.
Veteran Flyers like Kari Koch-Dowell, Rita Adams, Jordan LaDuke and Cherice “Mack” Jones will be joined with seven new faces.
“We’re bigger, strong, faster and have a very high level of basketball IQ,” said Head Coach Brittney Koch-Dowell.
The Flyers average height sprouted to six-foot and that IQ that coach talks about, six of the 12 Flyers are former or current International Basketball players.
What does that mean for this years team? Communication and knowledge on the court.
“It’s like having coaches on the floor. They understand when to set screens, how to move without the ball and knowing how to communicate with each other on both sides of the ball,” said Brittney.
It also adds depth, something that has been lacking with this team for a while.
“We will have a 12 man rotation. We also have a true point guard and it will allow Rita and Kari to play their true positions,” said Brittney. “This team likes each other talking on both ends of the floor. Something we haven’t done in a long time. They have bought into me and into the system and I don’t feel we bought into our system in the past couple years.”
While it’s no secret that the Flyers have always been able to put points on the scoreboard, this year the focus is on the other side of the ball.
“To win championships it all starts with defense,” said Brittney. “We have to hold teams to low scores and finish the games against tough teams.”
Sunday night will be a test for the Flyers. Starting the season against a tough team is something Coach is looking forward to.
“When you open up against a team as good as the Surge it tests us early,” said Brittney. “You have to be able to compete against teams like the Surge to be able to talk about a National Championship.”
The Flyers are also hoping for one special advantage, a packed crowd.
“When you have fans packing the gym it gives us something to play for. We want to be the top team in the Midwest and we have to face the defending two-time National Champs and runner-up. Having the fans cheering adds so much to how we play. I can’t wait until Sunday night,” said Brittney.