By Dana Harding (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There will be plenty of new faces on the Hollister roster this season.
The Lady Tigers posted a 20-7 record before getting upset in the district tournament.
After saying goodbye to a host of graduated seniors in Kendrick Bailey, Nesa Clarida, Nakeol Wells and Victoria Hutches in the offseason, Hollister hired a new head coach during the offseason in multisport veteran mentor Jeff Dishman, as well.
Entering his 14th year in coaching, Dishman will look to rebuild and reload a program hoping to continue its recent success.
“I think losing to Ava in the semi-finals at home as the No. 1 seed would fire me up to get back there and see what happens,” Dishman said. “We have preached all summer about change and what we can do as a team to get better each day so that doesn’t happen again. Our girls need to use that pain as losing, remember how they felt that night and move forward.”
Part of moving forward will be replacing Bailey’s prolific numbers. Much of Hollister’s offense ran through the all-state selection during her high school career.
Dishman has been pleased with the results so far.
“The girls have been very receptive and working very hard,” Dishman said. “What they have to do is realize that it is time to move on, we can’t bring people back and move forward.”
Hollister will be led by a talented senior class in Emma Cronin, Mady Pyatt, Jackie Pyatt, Gabby Frannciskovich and Shyanna Frenzel.
Cronin, a 5-foot-9 forward, is an athlete Dishman believes could be on the verge of a breakout season.
“Emma had a great summer and has shown steady improvement on the defensive end,” Dishman said. “She can really shoot it and we look for her to keep that up and have a great season.”
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Mady and Jackie Pyatt, 5-foot-9 twins, give Hollister some additional size and athleticism at both ends of the court.
“We are a different team when Mady is on the floor – she plays with a great motor and can score both inside and out,” Dishman said. “Jackie was injured some of last year but, like her sister, plays with a great motor and again like her twin-can score inside and out. She will be a leader each night for us.”
Frannciscovich, a 5-foot-5 guard, has worked hard over the summer to expand her game at both ends of the floor, according to Dishman.
“Gabby is a very streaky shooter that can flat fill it up when she gets going,” Dishman said. “We’re asking her to do some things that she hasn’t been asked to do so far and she is adjusting nicely and will only get better.”
At 5-foot-9, Frenzel is yet another long, athletic presence along Hollister’s back line.
“Shyanna is a very athletic player that can flat get after it on the defensive end,” Dishman said. “She can guard anywhere on the floor and plays with a great motor.”
5-foot-9 junior MaKenzie Hamilton, 5-foot-11 junior Brisa Gere and 5-foot-7 junior Gracie Jennings also return for the Lady Tigers.
While it’s not unusual for teams to have twins on the roster, Hollister will feature two sets this season.
Carly and Mackinzie Simpson, 5-foot-9 senior move-ins from Clever, could each make immediate impacts on the Lady Tigers roster.
As is the case with any new coach, Dishman hopes his team is able to quickly adjust to and develop within his system.
“I want our players to invest in the program, give something back to it and put something in the future of the Hollister girls basketball,” Dishman said. “If our kids buy into the coaches, we can be very successful, if they don’t, it can be a very long four months.”
Despite the number of new faces in new roles, Dishman believes Hollister’s experience and senior leadership will be a difference-makers both on and off the court.
“I like our team and the make-up of our roster,” Dishman said. “Our strength might be in the fact that these girls for the most part played big minutes the last couple of seasons so we’re somewhat veterans by now.
“We will look to our entire senior group as leaders. I think each player plays at a high level; their motors are always going full speed. If they can continue this and be leaders at practice for our younger girls, then we can build a program here.”
Following a home jamboree Nov. 16 with Branson and Reeds Spring, Hollister tips off its season Nov. 23 at Ava.