Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The New Covenant Academy girls’ basketball team has had some trouble holding onto players in recent years, so this season they will be looking to young talent in order to rebound from last season’s 4-17 record.
“My first year here we were .500,” said New Covenant’s forth-year coach, Jason Edgmond. “We seem to get new players and then lose new players… [but] we have probably the best freshmen class I’ve seen, so I think we have a shot at winning somewhere around 15 games.”
Edgmond, who also coaches the New Covenant middle school girls’ team, explained that there is a lot of athletic talent coming up through the ranks.
He thinks that, despite the high school Lady Warriors’ relative youth, the team as a whole will be able to compete with conference rivals like powerhouse Chadwick by the end of the season.
“Chadwick is the team to beat,” said Edgmond. “But we’ve beaten them in middle school and [with the talent] coming up, we’ve been pretty even.”
The girls are expecting more of the same at the high school level despite having been beaten consistently by Chadwick in the past.
NCA will open the season at the Fair Play Tournament the week of Nov. 19. They face Chadwick Nov. 29 and Dec. 10.
Overall, though, the team will focus on winning game to game. The hope, according to Edgmond, is that they will develop throughout the season and eventually get to the point where they can control the momentum on the court.
“We want to be able to dictate the game to the other team,” Edgmond said. “We want to make the game up and down: on offense we want to push; on defense we want to press.”
So far in practice, the team has focused on full-court drills and situational tactics and plays. Edgmond hopes that by developing their overall athleticism and fundamentals, the younger players will come together as a team to assist the more experienced players.
Part of the team’s confidence, though, is no doubt inspired by one of NCA’s returning players, sophomore Casy Askins (22 points, 10 assists) who will be the team’s captain this season. According to Edgmond, she will be a leader on the court and will be an essential part of their strategy.
When asked about her expectations for the season, Askins said “I’m expecting it to be tough. I just want to be a leader to everyone; we’re all pretty young.”
In addition to a good freshman class and a sophomore star, the team will also feature two new players, junior Bailey Gartner and a lone senior, Emma Bowen. Gartner is a transfer from Kickapoo High School and has some playing experience; Bowen, on the other hand, has never played before but has some raw athleticism to lend the team.
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