The Jonathan Alder girls basketball team is staring at a .500 mark midway through the season, not terrible, but definitely not elite.
Somewhere in the middle of the pack isn’t bad for a team still relying heavily on a small collection of older kids who didn’t have a lot of experience coming into the season and a bunch of wide-eyed freshmen.
“This season has been a work in progress,” Pioneers coach Bob Wehner said. “Trying to get all the players up to speed and everyone on the same page consistently has been a challenge.”
The team suffered a disappointing 74-65 home loss to Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference co-leader River Valley. The Lady Pioneers (5-5, 2-2) were in the game from beginning to end but just couldn’t find a way to get the victory. That’s been the story this season in the team’s five losses.
“We’ve been so close in all of our losses,” the coach said. “We’ve been within two points or so in the fourth quarter of all of them and just haven’t gotten the wins. We just need one of those close ones to go in our favor and give our girls some confidence.”
Alder had three players reach double figures in the most recent loss to River Valley. The team was led by McKenna Huff’s 16 points. Sydney Borquin added 15 and Lily Hess who chipped in 12. Abby Jones added eight and Jillian Jaske finished with seven.
Seeing his team make progress and then take a step or two back is something the coach is living with, knowing that ultimately its best basketball is still to come.
“We’re seeing progress in a lot of areas,” Wehner said. “In some other areas we’ve regressed. Sometimes you have to go backwards before you can go forward.
“We’re playing at least four freshmen every game, we’re still trying to get the acclimated to the varsity game.”
Wehner’s team sits in the middle of the MOAC race, but the coach and his players are priming themselves for what they hope will be a strong close to the regular season and an extended stay in the Division II Central District tournament.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “We’re really focused on the last third of the season and the tournament. I think we can really get things going the last third. We’ve been so close in our losses.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.