Girls start practice, look to build off last season’s record
The West Grand Girl’s Basketball Team began practice Tuesday in anticipation of the 2017-18 season, and will look to build off the promising 14-6 mark from last year.
After an impressive regular season, the Mustangs fell in the first round of the 2A Girls Basketball District Tournament.
We had a good year, and a good team that worked hard,” said Head Coach Elizabeth Bauer. “Obviously you want to finish a little better; you always want to end in the end. So we were obviously a little disappointed with that, but overall we had a good season.”
In order to compete West Grand will have to replace eight seniors, including six of their top seven scorers. Most notable of the graduates was Peyton Bodemann, who paced the team with 12.7 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.
Coach Bauer said she’s been preparing for the loss of the seniors.
“In general my philosophy as a coach is to build a program from the very beginning,” she said. “So I’m not starting over every year. And really these girls have a lot of talent, and they have good fundamentals that they’ve been working on. Every coach every year is going through losing seniors and finding out who their team is now. I’m really excited with what these girls will bring.”
The Mustangs will also have their work cut out for them in a difficult Western Slope League. Despite the 14-6 record, West Grand placed only fifth in the conference. Last year the Paonia Eagles went a perfect 25-0 in route to league and state titles.
Bauer said the team will utilize a fluid approach on offense, and will emphasize man defense.
“My approach these past couple of years is really trying to turn these players into athletes and basketball players, not robots,” she said. “We’re trying to teach them to read what the defense is giving.
“Defensively man defense is my bread and butter. If you don’t understand man defense, you really can’t execute the zone defense either.”
Bauer noted that aside from the finer points of the game, she wants to instill a sense of confidence in her players.
“That’s how I attack being a coach is that I want to give these girls confidence and self worth. I want to teach them those character traits that make them a better person. Basketball is a game, but I try to teach more about life.”
The Mustangs will head down to a tournament in Fort Collins on Nov. 30, before kicking off the regular season against Gilpin County on Dec. 7.
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Grand Concerts is hosting its first live event in 17 months featuring the Boston Brass on Friday at the Headwaters Pavilion in Winter Park.