Lady Bobcats lack depth
FRANKLIN FURNACE — One thing Green Lady Bobcats’ coach Melissa Knapp knows for sure: her team is eight deep.
Unfortunately, her team is eight deep for a reason. The Lady Bobcats have only eight players.
Still, Knapp is upbeat despite the lack of numbers.
“We have some experience in our starting lineup and I’m thrilled with my lineup. We just aren’t very deep,” said Knapp.
“We’re young but we’re more athletic than we’ve been. They are just going to have to be in excellent shape.”
A key for the Lady Bobcats is 5-foot-8 senior and returning starter Madi Applegate because she epitomizes leadership and helps with the team chemistry, two qualities that Knapp said are essential to winning.
“We’ve got a lot of younger players that haven’t played a whole lot of varsity basketball. The younger girls feel comfortable going to Madi when they need help. It’s just good to have Madi out there,” said Knapp.
Team chemistry doesn’t appear because the Lady Bobcats feature three foreign exchange students. However, Knapp said the opposite is true of the trio: 5-4 junior guard Irene Mancini and 5-7 junior Laura Guerierri who are from Italy and 6-1 sophomore Johanna Straube who hails from Germany.
“We are very culturally diverse,” said Knapp. “I like to watch how those three interact with each other as well. We just kind of sit back and take it all in. This is probably the best team chemistry I’ve ever had.”
While Applegate is the team leader, the Lady Bobcats will again rely on the scoring of 5-9 junior Kaylynn Blizzard who led the team in scoring as a freshman.
Also expected to start are 5-6 junior Ciera Davis, 5-3 junior Karli Lujan and Straube.
“Except for Johanna, they played as freshmen and sophomores. They were thrown in the varsity game when they were younger players. Now that they’re older I can see a difference,” said Knapp.
With only eight players, Knapp said conditioning in practice has been tough in an effort to have players capable of giving extra minutes.
One of the reserves will be freshman Leslie Gallion.
“It’s a totally different speed (for a freshman). Right now, we are playing up and down the floor in practice and that’s good for (Gallion). She’s really getting an eye-opener as far as game speed. That’s her biggest weakness right now,” said Knapp.
Despite all the problems, Knapp said things are moving in a positive direction.
“Just keep playing,” said Knapp. “Everyone is going to get playing time this year. This year I’m stressing defense. Our defense is going to help our offense.”
“We have to cut down on turnovers as a team. I don’t have any magic answers. We just have to keep playing and don’t give up. And these girls won’t quit. They’ll play as hard as they can play. Effort will never be a problem with this team.”