By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Few teams have seen as many injuries as Camdenton has over the last few seasons.
Some of that misfortune is also the reason Staci Caffey is excited entering her sixth season as head coach at Camdenton.
The Lady Lakers lost four games by seven points or less, but return four starters from that team and are optimistic about what 2017-18 could hold.
“I definitely think we learned a lot from last season,” said Caffey. “We have made some minor changes to our game and I am excited to see how this upcoming season will play out.”
Headlining Camdenton’s returners is senior Coley Rezabek.
The 5-foot-10 versatile post averaged a team-high 18 points and 6.2 rebounds, showing the ability to score inside and out.
She’s verbally committed to Division Two Bemidji State and is one of the favorites to win Ozark Conference Player of the Year.
“There are many traits that set Coley apart from other athletes but her attitude is definitely at the top; she is such a competitor yet puts every teammate before herself,” said Caffey. “I love the drive and self-discipline she displays day in and day out and the passion she has for the game.”
Fellow seniors Kylie Meier and Abbie Miller also return for the Lady Lakers.
Junior Natalie Basham will look to build on a successful sophomore season after averaging 11 points and four steals.
Following a season-ending injury to senior point guard Blair Kurtz, Camdenton had to develop new roles which should benefit the team this year.
Caffey also expects Shelby Kurtz and Megan Vest to play valuable minutes this season, with Kurtz providing backcourt depth and Vest giving Camdenton an interior presence.
Both sophomores are described as competitors that play with a lot of heart.
In a district that has seen four different winners in the last four seasons, Camdenton should figure into the equation to win its second district title in the last four years.
Caffey doesn’t believe there’s a better way to get ready for district play than by navigating the Ozark Conference schedule.
Sharing the district with conference rivals Lebanon and Waynesville makes OC play that much more beneficial.
“Nothing can prepare us for the postseason better than our own conference,” said Caffey. “To be competitive in the OC we are going to have to pick up our defense intensity and become a more consistent offensive threat.”
Camdenton opens the 2017-18 season at home against Marshfield on Nov. 21.