Mike Lang says it is going to take the underclassmen stepping up their roles and joining senior Bailey Tabeling and junior Liza Froedge for the Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team to put together another winning season and battle for another sectional title.
“As young as we are, they’re young kids that have experience, if that makes any sense,” he said. “They all got good minutes last year as freshmen, and they played a great deal this summer, so they already know what we’re doing coming in and the expectations that we have and the style and speed that we want to play with.”
That group of sophomores Lang was talking about are Madison Keith, Laura Roeder.and Jordan Brewer.
Keith was a starter last winter and averaged 6.7 points per game, while Brewer and Roeder filled reserve roles.
“You’ve got Liza and Bailey there as a junior and a senior that are definitely going to lead us, but the three sophomores and Morgan Brewer have enough experience out there,” Lang said.
This will be Tabeling’s fourth year of starting varsity. She enters the season with 1,583 career points and needs 15 to tie Sydney Jaynes for the career record. Tabeling averaged 19.7 PPG last season.
Froedge averaged 11.1 last winter.
“Liza and Jordan can both really fill it up,” Lamg said. “We really don’t designate who is going to take what shot. Our philosophy is ‘If it’s open, let it fly, and let’s see what happens.’ The good thing is we’ve got kids all around the perimeter that can score, they can drive it and hopefully put teams in a disadvantage.”
The Cougars will rely on the outside game.
“We can’t pound it down low on teams,” Lang said. “We’ve got to find the mismatches and exploit the mismatches, and that’s what we’re going to do, whether we’re spreading teams out or if we’re setting screens for a player that we feel that we can exploit. That’s what our half-court offense is going to be. We’re going to try and push it in transition with the speed we have, but we’ve got to pick and choose our spots.”
Lang knows a lot of teams are going to double-team Tabeling, so she is going to have to be a good passer and increase her number of assists.
“It worked last year in the regional when she was getting shadowed. Madison (Keith) was able to set some good screens and open her up,” Lang said. “Madison is probably the most physical player that we have. She can get down there and mix it up. We’ve been putting her in a lot of screen-and-roll situations. Hopefully, it can carry over.”
Lang said he will have the Cougars run difference presses and play both man and zone in the half-court defense.
“We’re going to mix it in throughout the year,” he said. “We’ve got to develop a little bit more depth before we start really pressing a whole bunch. We’ve been focusing on our half-court man defense. Eventually, we’ll scoot it up to maybe play three-quarter court.”
He said in the half-court, the Cougars will mix it up based on the personnel of the opponent.
Lang said he has had the team spend a lot of time working on conditioning.
Trinity lost five seniors from last year.
“I think the good thing is the younger kids were able to get a great deal of playing time last year even though we had a more experienced roster. I look at us as being young, but I don’t think we’re inexperienced,” he said. “Our goals are not going to change. Our goals and our outlook is we plan on competing for sectional and regional titles and advance in the tournament as far as we possibly can. Hopefully, we can win that fourth sectional in a row.”
The Class A sectional for Jackson County teams is at Rising Sun.
Assistant coaches are Donna Sullivan, Darrin Keith, Abby Schult and Erin Goodpaster.
The Cougars, 16-9 last year, will open their season tomorrow night at Brownstown Central.