By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Bolivar will begin a new phase this winter with longtime head coach Ben Glasgow taking over the program after a successful stint at Licking saw him win 20 games in each of the last five seasons.
A 22-year coaching vet with a deep ties to the Springfield area, making the move to Bolivar allowed Glasgow to get back to his roots, as well as tackle a new challenge in taking over one of Missouri’s premier girls basketball programs.
“I grew up in this area and always wanted to return if I could find the right situation,” said Glasgow. “I loved my time in Licking and I’m proud of the teams we put on the floor every year. This job was a great fit that brought me closer to family and friends. It’s a great school and I’m glad I got the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Bolivar has been to three Final Fours since 2007, including a state championship. In that time, they’ve produced numerous college players at all levels.
Glasgow will look to continue that success, returning three starters that’ll be cornerstone pieces for the program moving forward.
Junior Lexi Berry is one of the area’s top players, averaging 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and three assists per game as a sophomore.
She’s a big-time shooter and can play either guard spot.
“Lexi is a solid point guard who is continually working to expand her game,” said Glasgow. “She is an unselfish player who is good at getting her teammates involved but is capable of stepping up for some big games in the scoring column as well.”
She’ll be joined again in the backcourt by 5-foot-5 senior Sarah Green, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds as a junior. She’s a scrappy guard that excels defensively but is also a capable scorer.
“Sarah is a great athlete whose motor is always running,” said Glasgow. “She is a catalyst for the team on the defensive end especially. We are looking for her to step up her offensive game and be more aggressive in that aspect. The combination of her and Lexi makes our backcourt solid.”
Junior Trinity Williamson could end up being the key to Bolivar’s season.
As a sophomore, the 5-foot-10 forward averaged 6.5 points and 8.7 rebounds. She also led the team in steals (1.8).
“Trinity has a ton of potential. She also brings size and athleticism to the lineup,” said Glasgow. “She led the team in rebounds as well as steals. She is working hard on her ability to finish which would make her a very effective weapon and be a huge boost to the team on offense.”
Seniors Emma Henderson, Ashton Lynn and Madison Austin, as well as junior Emily Hogan are also experienced players that will again be in the rotation this season.
Glasgow is also excited about a talented crop of newcomers.
Junior Cara Larimore is back after not playing as a sophomore. She’s a versatile, two-way player. Sophomore guard McKinley Hodges gives the Liberators another perimeter scorer. Freshman Cora Roweton will provide frontcourt help with her 5-foot-11 frame.
One of the biggest challenges Bolivar will face is the adjustment to a new system and getting acclimated to different roles at the varsity level. Something that is always a concern when there’s a change in regime.
How quickly everyone can get acclimated could dictate the Lady Liberators success this season.
“I think that the most important thing to establish is the right culture that surrounds your program,” said Glasgow. “You want kids to buy into your way of thinking and to take ownership of the program as well. I also think you have to figure out the area your team plays in and make sure you are able to play at a level that can be competitive night in and night out.”