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Young Springfield girls basketball players end season with experience

2/27/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFELD — Springfield girls basketball coach Lori Henary said she saw improvement from her team as the season progressed.

“We got better game over game,” she said. “We were really learning how to play to win and how to fight through adversity and fight through injuries. We just didn’t get as many wins as I would have liked.”

Springfield finished the season with a 4-18 overall record this year.

“I anticipated us having a better record than we finished with, which may seem strange because we did graduate six seniors last year. So most would anticipate us not doing better,” she said. “I just thought that skill-wise we would be able to fill those positions in. I anticipated being at least the same as we were last year, record-wise (7-16). The seniors we lost were good leaders, and I think our players this year really had to step up.”

This year’s team played a full varsity and junior varsity schedule with a total of only 13 players, Henary said.

“And we played a lot of the season, about a month of the season, with only 12, because we had a girl (freshman Tiffany Lancer) who was having some foot issues,” the coach said. “So she was in a walking boot and crutches for a month.”

One of the two seniors on the squad this season was 5-foot-10 guard Ally Graham.

“Ally had a successful year. If you ask her, she would probably say she didn’t do as well as she thinks she could have, but always pushing yourself to get better is a good quality to have,” Henary said. “She had a good season, even though she had a lot weighing on her. She had to handle the ball, she had to score and she had to rebound. She probably had almost double digits in points and rebounds in every game. Plus, I always put her on the other team’s best player defensively. She had to do everything, and she’s a great role model for the younger girls.”

The team’s other senior this season was guard Genny Pratt.

“Genny didn’t play last year, so the last time she was on the team was as a sophomore, where she played on the junior varsity team. So she had no playing time up until this season on the varsity floor,” the coach stated. “With that being said, I think she did a great job. She really worked hard every day at practice. She was a great teammate, too.”

Another key player on the team was sophomore Allie Rodenbucher.

“She’s a great player with tons of skill,” Henary said. “She’s very gifted offensively. In the last game we played, she had 26 points, and she is trying to learn how to have the confidence to be that player in every game. She can be streaky, but that’s being young. She’s still only a sophomore. When she learns how to be consistent, she will be hard to stop.”

Rounding out the starting lineup this season for Springfield were sophomore Sarah Treen and freshman Ali Karas.

“Sarah is a good shooter. This was the first year for her as far as playing significant varsity minutes, and hopefully playing as much as she did this year will help her next year. She has tons of potential,” the coach said. “Ali doesn’t have much offensive skill yet, but she is a great defender — especially for a freshman. I can’t even imagine how good she will be in four years. She prides herself on her defense. We just have to work with her on her consistency with scoring.”

Henary said the experience gained by the younger players on this year’s team should pay dividends next season.

“I think with losing only two seniors and having all of the other girls back, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be better,” the coach said. “We’ll have three returning starters with 22 starts under each of their belts. Hopefully, next year that experience will pay off and they’ll have more confidence.”

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