There’s a youth movement going on with the Jonathan Alder girls basketball team.
The Lady Pioneers have a collection of veterans back playing bigger roles, but the squad also has a handful of freshman who are going to have a big say in just how good the team is going to be this winter.
“I’m excited about this team,” Alder coach Bob Wehner said. “We have four returning letterwinners and a group of freshmen that are going to play a lot. The freshman had a lot of success in seventh and eighth grade and we’re going to use them a lot.”
The Pioneers are off to a strong start going 3-1, with the lone setback coming in the form of a one-point lot. But knowing a lot will be riding on a bunch of inexperienced varsity players, Wehner is expecting a series of ups and downs.
“We’re going to take our lumps, probably more in the first half of the season,” he said. “But I think we’ll continue to get better and better as the season goes along.”
Perhaps the biggest issue the team has had in the first week of the season has come in the turnover department. The squad is turning it over way more than the coach would like, but he understands that his team is working more these days on its defense than the offense.
“We’re still learning to play with each other and learning each others game. We’ve made some bad decisions with the ball up to this point but I think we’ll work it out. We’re playing at a little slower pace on offense, but we’ve really been working on becoming a good defensive team.
“We’ve got good athletes and good speed. I think we can be a pretty good offensive team. We’ll start spending more time on our offense once we get the defense straightened out.”
With a collection of youngsters on the roster, Alder is really looking to its older players to provide the leadership. That starts with returnees Lily Hess, Emily Davis, McKenna Huff and Peyton Mast.
Despite so many new faces the Lady Pioneers expect to be competitive in their final season in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division. The league has some pretty talented teams including Marion Pleasant, North Union and Buckeye Valley but Wehner thinks his team will be able to challenge those teams later in the season.
“We’re going to grow as a team,” he said. “I really like this group of girls.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.