CAMDEN — It would be easy to write off Preble Shawnee’s girls’ basketball team even before this season starts.
After all, the Arrows lost all five starters who played a bulk of the minutes and scored all but six points a game for a team that finished 17-7.
But fourth year Coach Kevin Schaeffer is optimistic about this season despite the losses.
“I’m a pessimist all the time when I’m coaching, but at the beginning of the season I’m always an optimist,” he said. “I would be pretty disappointed if we didn’t get to 15 wins.”
Schaeffer will rely on a roster of 10, with five seniors leading the way, to get to get to than number.
Returning players who saw time last season are seniors Cami Hollon, Abby Elam, Jasmine King, Kendra Worley and Stephanie Howard.
Hollon has the most varsity experience among the returners, playing about 10 minutes per game last season.
“Cami has been getting exponentially better every year and I don’t think this year will be any different. She will be big,” Schaeffer said. “I know what I’m going to get out of Abby and Cami. I’ve been really impressed with Kendra, Jasmine and Stephanie. They just look more comfortable especially, Kendra and Jasmine. Last year, I think they thought when they got playing time they thought they had to be perfect and it was stressful for them. This year, I think, they are just playing basketball.”
Schaeffer said he plans on using three freshmen in the rotation as well in Campbell Jewel, Harlee Howard and Oliva Thompson.
“Good athletes, man. If the first two scrimmages are any indication they’re going to up the level of play. But all three of them have pretty high athletic IQ’s so I don’t expect them to be confused too long. Play wise, they’re probably the three most-skilled players I’ve got,” Schaeffer said.
Sophomore Gracie Lovely saw limited time on the varsity last season and junior Jacy Johnson rounds out the roster.
Schaeffer said fans can expect to see the “a little bit of everything” from his team this season.
“We might man press. We might zone press. We might sit in a half-court zone. We might trap in a half-court zone. We may just run a half-court man. Every year, when you look at the SWBL, we’re always one of the top two teams’ points against. We get after it on the defensive end. We’ll get our stops,” he said. “It’s a little different because we’re a little smaller this year which opens up some doors, but closes some others. We’re going to junk it up.”
Schaeffer said he expects the SWBL to be challenging again this season, but believes his team can contend for the Buckeye Division title along with defending champion and Division III state-runner up Waynesville, Madison, Milton-Union and Carlisle.
“It’s going to be similar to last year. I think Madison is going to be stronger; Milton might be a little weaker. We’re a question mark. I think Waynesville’s a question mark, but I think everybody is saying Waynesville should win the league. And Carlisle shouldn’t be that bad,” he said.
The Arrows are scheduled to begin the season on Tuesday, Nov. 26 with a home contest against Brookville. Tip-off is slated for approximately 7:15 p.m. The Arrows will also host Northridge on Saturday, Nov. 30 to begin SWBL Buckeye Division play. Tip-off is set for 1:15 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH