FLINTON — The Glendale girls basketball team returns four letterwinners from last year’s 8-14 squad.
The Lady Vikings, led by second-year head coach Beth Campbell, have had a much easier preseason now that they know what to expect from each other.
“That year has definitely made it easier,” Campbell said. “The transition was smoother, but we are still working with junior high coaches to build a cohesive program.”
Back for Glendale are senior Madison Lukehart, juniors Olivia Reese and Lilley Vereshack and sophomore Kyla Campbell.
Reese and Campbell were starters on varsity last year, while Lukehart and Vereshack saw a lot of action, and Coach Campbell expects them to step up even more this season.
“I am definitely expecting them to be the leaders of this team,” she said. “I have two returning starters in Olivia Reese and Kyla Campbell. They averaged around 30 minutes a game last year so they have a lot more experience going into this year and they both had a good season last year.
“Olivia averaged 10.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game and was a Mo Valley league and Progressland all-star in her sophomore season. Kyla averaged 11.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. She was a Mo Valley league all-star, a Progressland second team selection and led Progressland in rebounds for her freshman season. They work really well together and having your main ball handlers back is a big advantage.”
“Joining them as a returning letterwinner is senior Madison Lukehart. Madison has had a really good preseason and I expect great things from her this year. She is really seeing the floor well and I believe she will get a lot of assists. She has been working on her shooting too and I expect her to be a consistent scorer this year.
“Our final letterwinner is junior Lilley Vereshack. Because of how aggressively she goes to the basket and rebounds, we will be playing Lilley as a small forward. We will be relying on her to guard girls much taller than her and I have no doubt she will do a great job of it. She has a lot of intensity on defense.”
Despite the four letterwinners, the Lady Vikings are still a very young team. With six sophomores and five freshmen, Campbell is expecting them to improve as the season goes on.
“We are extremely young and mostly inexperienced,” said Coach Campbell. “There are quite a few freshmen and sophomores vying for playing time. The entire freshman class plus sophomore Bailee Wimberly spent a lot of time at open gyms this summer and I am hoping that fact and their continued improvement keeps the other players from getting complacent. I look for these two classes to get a lot of playing time this year.”
Coach Campbell has been impressed with the work ethic of her group and is looking forward to the future.
“I am very excited for the future of Glendale girls basketball, these young girls are only going to get better,” she said. “This group works very hard. My first year I had three girls come to open gyms, this year we averaged twelve. That hard work shows. They are also very athletic which means we get up and down the floor quickly.”
The Lady Vikings will have to fill the holes left by the graduation of starters Molly Mullhollen, Sydney Lumadue and Brooke Smeal.
“Molly was pretty much our enforcer in the paint,” Campbell said. “She averaged almost 10 rebounds a game and it may take a combination of girls to replace that. Syd had a really good senior season and ended up being a big three point threat by the end of the year. Not sure yet who will step up and fill that void.
“Brooke was the team leader last year and did a lot of little things that you don’t get press for. She calmed things down when our young point guards panicked, or she would step up with a big three pointer just when we needed it.”
“They are missed and will be hard to replace.”
Coach Campbell says her starting five will be a combination of her letterwinners, along with some underclassmen.
“Right now my starting five will be some combination of Olivia Reese, Kyla Campbell, Madison Lukehart, Lilley Vereshack, Hanna Noel, Riley Best, and Alyssa Sinclair,” she said. “It may change game to game.
“That could change as the season goes on as we have a number of girls on the JV team also vying for varsity time. It really comes down to who works the best together.”
Coach Campbell said the team is working on their defense as well as some new offenses.
She said the team goals are to play as a team, improve on last year’s record and compete in the district tournament.
Campbell is being assisted by Jim Campbell and Taylor Campbell. Jim Haney and Christy Braniff will be running the junior high team.
Glendale begins its season on Dec. 6 vs. Conemaugh Valley at the Blacklick Valley Tip-Off Tournament.
Debbie Downs, *Madison Lukehart, Regina Funtal Noel
*Olivia Reese, *Lilley Vereshack.
*Kyla Campbell, Hanna Noel, Arianna Richards, Cindy Richards, Abbey Williams, Bailee Wimberly.
Riley Best, Breann Kuhn, Casey Kuhn, Alyssa Sinclair, Jillian Taylor.
*Denotes returning letterwinners.
6—vs. Conemaugh Valley at Blacklick Valley Tip-Off Tournament, 6 p.m. 7—vs. TBA at Blacklick Valley Tip-Off Tournament. 9—Moshannon Valley. 13—at Juniata Valley. 17—at Bellwood-Antis. 20—Harmony. 26—vs. Northern Bedford at Williamsburg Christmas Tournament, TBA. 27—vs. Williamsburg at Williamsburg Christmas Tournament, TBA.
3—Williamsburg. 8—at Curwensville. 10—at Claysburg-Kimmel. 13—Mount Union. 15—at Harmony. 17—at West Branch. 20—at Moshannon Valley. 23—Juniata Valley. 27—Bellwood-Antis. 30—at Williamsburg.
3—Claysburg-Kimmel. 5—Curwensville. 6—at Mount Union. 10—West Branch.
All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.