P-O girls sporting young, but experienced roster|
Friday, November 30, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - After graduating just one senior from last year's team that went 5-19, it would be safe to say that Philipsburg-Osceola girls basketball coach Doug Myers is excited at his team's prospects for the 2012-13 campaign.
Myers has five letterwinners back at his disposal, but replacing Lauren Simcox - the Mountain League's leading scorer a season ago - and having a roster chock full of underclassemen will make his job easier said than done.
The Lady Mounties have 17 players on the roster, but only four are upperclassmen.
Despite his team's relative youth, Myers is optimistic his squad can be successful this year.
"I told the girls, ‘we've got five letterwinners and we've got a lot of girls that played a lot of varsity (minutes), so we can't use (our youth as an) excuse anymore,' " said Myers.
"We have to come out and play every night (because) we're in a tough league. We're coming into this season where we believe that we can't use that excuse. We have to play.
"(Lauren) was the leading scorer in the Mountain League with 15 points per game, but I think collectively we'll have two or three people make up those points. We've got some kids that can shoot the ball, and they're really enjoying the offense we're putting in. We told them this is an opportunity to step up and take over the responsibility."
Seniors Briana Rusnak and Cassidy Bauman return to their starting positions in the post, while junior Alyssa Myers, who missed most of last season with an injury, will hold down a third starting spot. Classmate Katie Meersand will be the second player off the bench for P-O.
Sophomore letterwinners Abby Showers and Kenzie Burge will handle the ball for the Lady Mounties, who will have freshman Haylee Hayward running the point.
"We do have some depth this year, and that's something we haven't had in a long time," Myers said. "We can keep kids fresh and we have some kids that can play. It's crucial (to have depth), and it just hurt us so much last year because we wanted to make sure we kept our jayvee program.
"We had to move some kids around (due to injuries), so we played a lot of games with only six players. It wore us down in moments of the season but, actually, in the end of the year we came on pretty strong.
"When you're playing Tyrone and Bald Eagle (Area), you've got to have seven or eight kids."
While replacing Simcox's offensive output can prove to be a tough task, Myers says the biggest attribute the Lady Mounties will miss will be her intangibles - like keeping everybody calm and focused, in addition to her vocal leadership.
"We're depending on some younger kids to do that now," said Myers. "I think they'll step up to the challenge. They're ready for it. Lauren's attitude and the fight that she had is going to be the hardest thing to replace.
"Volleyball, softball ... (the sophomores) have done it all. They have a district title already in softball and a district championship (appearance) in volleyball.
"They've been through the pressure of big games and tight games. They'll handle that well."
Showers is the team's top returning scorer after finishing with 8 points per contest as a freshman with Rusnak (7.8) and Bauman (6.3) following closely behind.
Regardless of who scores the points, Myers feels his team's unity will pay dividends with the game on the line.
"They get along real well together," Myers said, "and they understand that the Mounties get the points, no matter who it is (that scores them). Somebody's got to make a great pass, somebody has got to make a great screen. There's a lot that goes into scoring. They're excited about the season ... (but) finding some vocal leaders is going to be crucial."
P-O tips off its season on Dec. 10 when it entertains DuBois.
*Cassidy Bauman, *Briana Rusnak.
*Katie Meersand, Alyssa Myers.
Madison Beck, *Kenzie Burge, Madison Foreman, Katie Nartatez, Callie Peck, Sidney Shimmel, *Abby Showers.
Cheyenne Bone, Cheyanne Cowfer, Olivia Franchock, Haylee Hayward, Emily Miller, Kylie Whitehead.
*Denotes returning letterwinner.
10-DuBois; 12-Penns Valley; 14-Tyrone; 17-Penn Cambria; 19-at Bellefonte; 21-at Bald Eagle Area; 28-29-at Williamsburg Tournament, TBA.
4-Central Mountain; 7-at DuBois Central Catholic; 9-at Huntingdon; 11-Central; 16-Clearfield; 21-Brookville; 23-at Penns Valley; 25-at Tyrone; 29-Bellefonte.
1-Bald Eagle Area; 5-Huntingdon; 8-at Central; 12-at Clearfield; 14-at Penn Cambria.
All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.