Freshmen to be key for Clever girls

Clever, Mo. (For  -- The Clever High School girls’ basketball team will rely on new offensive talent like freshmen Kendra Zwicky and Lacy Menzie after graduating four seniors, including last year’s leading scorers.

Clever lost three starters from last season, among them top scorer Jordan Farmer (15 ppg, 7 rpg) and their important defensive playmaker, Michaela Hanafin (13 ppg, 9.5 rpg).  

They also lost Maddie Baumann (13 ppg, 6 rpg) and their sixth man, Trista Davis.

According to Clever third-year coach Brandon Weiss, they will compensate for the loss in scoring potential with new players that have come up from Clever’s middle school team.

“[Zwicky] is a good defender for us, she’s quick and she’s really good, but she’s also really improved on her shooting and so we’ll see her more on the scoring end of things,” said Weiss.

The team will also feature senior Bailey Ghan (8.5 ppg), junior Mackenzie Burns (6.5 ppg), and sophomore Lexi Tennis (3.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg) as prominent offensive players.

Because Clever lost a lot of scoring talent, Weiss says the team will have to utilize more set plays and will not be able to do as many ‘read and react’ type maneuvers on the court.

“We’ve really changed a lot of things.  With what we’ve lost we can’t do a lot of what we used to do.  We’re going to be running more sets and more continuity style offense,” he said.

Despite the changes in the offensive lineup, Clever will not be starting over from scratch on defense.  They will, however, be adding a promising freshmen defender to the starting lineup.

Weiss says, “[Menzie] is a very quick guard.  She’s like a little nat on defense and she’ll have to guard the other team’s best ball handler.”

Overall, the Clever girls have a modest outlook on this season according to their coach.  They finished 19-6 last season and they are expecting a slight decline, but still plan on a winning season this time around.

Nevertheless, Clever has a tough schedule this season and have already lost 56-26 against Skyline—a game their coach predicted would be difficult to win.

“We just want to improve and that’s our biggest thing.  We lost those four seniors last year and that was the bulk of the scoring,” said Weiss.  “We’ll just have to improve and as the year goes along hopefully we’ll get better.”

When asked who he would look forward to playing, Weiss said, “Crane is going to be a really good game; I always look forward to playing them.  Also Sparta has a new coaching staff so that should be something different.”

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