Q. Coming into the season, you lost four seniors who were all starters from last year, not everyone from last yearís squad came back for one reason or another, there were injuries that hurt depth and obviously moving to 5A was a big deal. All those things considered, did things go kind of like you thought they would, better than you thought or were they way off track?
A. I felt like our kids played hard all season and as far as practicing goes they were very consistent and very solid. We continue to have long practices and you know they continue to get better and I think thatís a challenge. They could have given up and quit after the first-round of district and I still felt like we really improved and got better. I think thatís something as a team we did all year long. We improved and people kind of filled into the spots they needed. We had some ups and downs but I think overall our season, if you were to look at it, you would say we improved a lot as a team this season.
Q. You had two seniors in Hannah Miller and Brandi Spillers who couldnít have been more opposite of each other in terms of basketball. Miller was a veteran who has been a starter for years, Spillers was a first-year starter but both did positive things for the team. What will you remember about those two players and what they did?
A. Both of those girls worked very hard and thatís one of their best traits. They work hard and I just think that carries over into what they do. Brandi is very disciplined. Sheís a very disciplined person. She works very hard at what she does on the court as far as basketball and on the track and cross country and in the classroom. And Hannah has been a basketball player forever. Sheís gone through some adversity and I felt like she was really able to kind of have a basketball identity this year. She did a great job for us coming in there and using all those positive leadership skills she has to help lead our team.
Q. Those two girls were called on to be major leaders with so much turnover from last year. Has any of that leadership rubbed off on the underclassmen who will be the leaders next season?
A. I think so. Just like any year itís hard to lose those seniors. Like I said, we were still improving and itís hard for it to all be over and theyíre going to be greatly missed. Both great kids and fun to be around and they work hard. Those are the kind of kids you want in your program. We do definitely have some young kids with the potential to be great leaders and Iím very excited about that.
Q. Potential is an interesting choice of words because you do have a large part of your team coming back next season. You have kids with size, kids with speed, some good shooters, basically a good mix of players. How nice is to not have to rebuild like you did coming into this past season?
A. Itís very nice and I think the kids are excited about it. They know that weíre going to have to get better but I think that they know where we need to be. Coming from the JV to the varsity, thatís kind of hard. Itís just a new level youíre trying to adjust to. I think that this year weíll be able to really work on really getting better and strive at making our team great. Just know the expectations a little bit more.
Q. With all those returners and the experience your team has gained this season, do those expectations go up now that they have experience on their side?
A. For us, yes. Weíre going to expect to win basketball games and to step up and have a shot to go to the playoffs. Thatís what we work for. We work to win basketball games. We work to get to the playoffs and then go further than that. Thatís what weíre doing. Thatís what weíre striving for.
Q. In moving up to 5A and dealing with some of the top teams in the state, did you see something in their programs that maybe was separating you from them? Were they doing something that contributed to their success youíre planning to implement?
A. The game is evolving, Iíll say that. The game is evolving into where great basketball players donít just play basketball from the middle of October to the beginning of February. Those great ones are playing a little bit more than that.
I think that weíre going to have to start dipping in and playing some extra and really learn how to improve our individual skills as well as our team skills.
Itís a challenge and itís something a little bit new and uncomfortable but I do think our kids are ready for that challenge. And I think they know weíre going to have to step up what weíre doing outside of basketball and I think that weíre ready to do that.