Young talent, new coach in new era for Lady Indians
Van-Far girls basketball team. Front row, from left: Chevy Windland (So.), Ciara Craven (Jr.), Kambrie Hartsell (Sr.), Sarah Sutton (Sr.), Brooke Johnson (Jr.), and Breanna Strange (So.). Back row: Coach Kylie Stephenson, Lindsey Nitcher (Fr.), Hailey Hopke (Fr.), Abbey Robinson (Fr.), Katelyn Allen (So.), Renee Nelson (Fr.), Annaliese Hubert (So.), Janie Swarthout (Fr.), Aaryn Phillips (Fr.), head coach Sarah Asbury, and coach Kelly Orf. Not pictured: Kaylee Harrower.
New talent in a young Van-Far varsity girls basketball program is offering the opportunity for new Van-Far varsity girls head coach Sarah Asbury to build a squad with the key word being “team.”
“I have one player returning who received varsity time last year. As for the rest of my players, this will be their first opportunity to receive court time as a varsity player. I have set high expectations for my young team seeing that they do lack varsity experience,” Asbury said.
Asbury said she looks to junior Ciara Craven and senior Kambrie Hartsell as standout point guards for the season. She said junior Brooke Johnson, center, will be another leader in putting up points for the Lady Indians. Defense has been a focus for the Lady Indians, with another concentration on endurance.
“I feel without a lot of time as a varsity team these girls need to know how to defend the basket,” Asbury said. “We have also concentrated a lot on endurance. With such a young team, our first seven girls will see a lot of playing time and will need to be in tip top shape to stay on the floor.“
Losing five seniors from last season, Asbury said she is looking to her returning player to take the younger squad to the next level.
“I think Brooke Johnson, our only returning varsity player, has pushed newcomer Renee Nelson in various aspects of the game,” she said. “She has worked one-on-one on post skills and they have both made each other quicker. These two girls work well together and have started to push each other in conditioning which is a great thing to see as a coach.”
Asbury said Silex and Clopton will be the test for her young squad, with both schools being known to produce solid teams. She said playing both teams away from home this season will add to the intensity of the games. Asbury added assistant coach Kelly Orf this season, as well as Kylie Stephenson, a student teacher who volunteered to help with building the team.
“I could not have asked for a better coaching staff. I have Orf as my hired assistant, who is very knowledgeable as a point guard and has really helped the girls understand the importance of hard work and dedication,” Asbury said. “I also have Kylie Stephenson, a student teacher in the district, who volunteered to help with basketball. Stephenson also volunteered to help me with Junior High Softball, so we have coached together. The three of us have grown up in this area and have experienced area basketball. We have a lot of the same beliefs and work well as a unit. Having these ladies as assistant coaches has enabled us to do more individual coaching and work with players on a more individual basis. It has also helped because they see the things I may be missing in practice. I am looking forward to our season together as new coaches.”