Improvements expected in basketball team

Improvements expected in basketball team by Jim Prosser With a returning group of starting players from last year, coach Jamie Parish enters his fourth year at the helm of the Tanager girls' basketball program.

Parish will be assisted by Lenni Billberg.

Using a motion offense and a man-to-man defense, with some zone in the mix, Parish expects to improve on his 8-12 record from last year.

"As a positive note, we return a great deal of experience, however we still have some questions to be answered," Parish said. "Our seniors, Melissa Olson, Jackie Thomas, and Ellen Odson have put in a lot of time and effort during the off season, along with junior Michelle Olson and sophomores Annie Roche and Chelsea Gauer. We expect to see some positive results from their hard work.

"Melissa and Michelle have shown their potential in the past and have the ability to score with their back to the basket and to step out to hit some jumpers," he continued. "Transfer student Krista Froke will also see some minutes under the basket. Thomas and Roche will handle the offense chores from the outside. As quick players they can be expected to make good decisions with the ball, keeping the turnovers to a minimum, along with some long range scoring. Their quickness and anticipation should allow us to pressure the opponents' perimeter players.

"Paige Prosser, Odson, and Gauer will all have opportunities to play some minutes at our wing positions," Parish added. "They should be able to deliver the ball into the post and to hit open jump shots.

Parish said as a team, the Tanager defense will need to be more consistent.

"We play very good defense during individual possessions, but struggle to put together a string of successful possessions," he said. "In order for us to be successful we need balanced scoring and help from the bench. We have some very good players but not any one dominant one, so balance and teamwork is a necessity."

The team opens the season with games on Dec. 9 at Harrisburg and Dec. 11 in the EP-J Classic. Their first home game isn't until Jan. 8, 2005 against Parkston.

"We have the potential to show improvement from last year, but most of our opponents will also have several returning players and are in the same position as us," Parish said. "We need some early successes to help our confidence and team chemistry."

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