Seneca has a strong group of senior leaders entering coach Drew Schulte’s second year as the helm of the Lady Indians program. They finished 10-17 last year, but are aiming to climb back above .500 with all five starters returning.
“I will look to all of my seniors to be leading our team on the court,” Schulte said. “They work hard, stay positive, have high enthusiasm, and make everyone around them a better player. I believe everyone looks up to them and hopefully follow their lead.”
Those four senior starters include Taylor Mailes, Sarah Hoover, Makaylee Beard Chaney Platner. Mailes earned second-team all-conference honors after averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 and 3 steals per game last year.
“Taylor will be one of our main point guards, she plays extremely hard and does a great job controlling both sides of the floor,” Schulte said.
Hoover was named to the honorable mention all-conference team thanks to her averages of 9 points and 4.6 rebounds. Beard was strong on the glass for the Lady Indians with 6.6 rebounds per game to go with 6.9 points. Platner is a strong outside shooter who averaged five points per game as a junior.
Junior Chelsea Beville is the final returning starter. She averaged 5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore Kayla French saw time on varsity as a freshman, and she will be looking to contribute even more this year at shooting guard.
Senior Ashley Collinsworth along with juniors Mylea Schlessman and Mady Dunbar and freshman Aliya Grotjohn will be some new players to watch for Seneca this year.
Those newcomers blending with the five returning starters will be a strength for the Lady Indians.
“Having all five starters back is one of our biggest strengths, plus most of them are seniors who have experience. This year we will have a deeper bench than we did last year, some of them will be competing for a starting position. If we continue to communicate, play selfless basketball, and play together, we will have success,” Schulte said.
But just because they are an experienced group, Schulte knows they still have places to improve.
“We still need to improve on every aspect of the game. Offensively, we are starting to develop more confidence when it comes to scoring, but we will need that to go into full effect when we start our games,” Schulte said. “Defensively, we need to be more aggressive and hit the boards harder than we did last year. We need to prevent second chances.”
Overall, Schulte thinks his team is ready to compete in the Big 8 West after a strong offseason of growth.
“I am very excited for this upcoming season. I have five seniors who work hard and give me everything they have in practice. We have all of our starters back and we should have more depth this year. I think we struggled a little bit last year finding who we were and finding ways to score. This year I look for it to be different,” Schulte said. “All the girls have worked extremely hard and have improved. I am pleased with the amount of work they have put in. Our new conference that we are in is up for grabs, many teams have improved. We as a team are up for the challenge, I think this is a little bit of a redemption year for us.”
Seneca opens the season at the Carl Junction tournament from Nov. 26 through Dec. 1.