West Grand girls hoops has firepower even though team hasn’t racked up wins
When West Grand girls basketball takes the court, the team isn’t terribly deep and there are only two seniors in the lineup. But if you ask coach Elizabeth Bauer, the Mustangs have a lot more horsepower than their record suggests.
Of all the basketball players to take the court in Grand County this season, there might not be one who loves the game more than West Grand senior Emma Daly does. Coming into the school year, Daly was given the chance to paint her own parking space in West Grand High School Parking with a unique design that’s special to her, and to almost no one’s surprise, she put a basketball court there.
“Emma Daly loves the game very passionately and she’s very intelligent,” Bauer said of one of the unsung heroes for the Mustangs this year. “You can just tell she’s a student of the game.”
The senior standout has been a true competitor for the Mustangs this year too, and not just with sharp passes and smooth jump shots, but by helping the rest of the team grow in their game, the coach added.
The other senior on the Mustangs’ roster is Iliana Castillo. In addition to being one of the consummate workhorses for the Mustangs, Bauer said Castillo always seems to find herself at the right place at the right time, displayed by Castillo’s amazing ability to secure stats like weak-side rebounds.
In fact, Castillo had a game-high 14 rebounds to go with six points and four steals vs. Meeker, and she leads the team this year with an average of 9.1 rebounds per game.
“I love her fire and I love her intensity,” Bauer said. “She’s also been a pretty good scorer for me as well.”
Of course, it’s hard to watch the Mustangs without noticing junior Alex Schake battle in the low post. Against Meeker, Schake posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, she has led West Grand’s offense by averaging 7.7 points per game.
More than that, Bauer said she has noticed Schake’s ability to “take over a game” and thinks that Schake can continue to establish herself as one of the most dominating forces in the league.
The team has been without its starting point guard since Allison Daly went out with an injury. Daly was one of the team leaders in points and in steals, and her absence on the court has hampered the Mustangs.
West Grand has coped with the situation by asking a handful of girls to rotate in at the point guard position to relieve some of the pressure. It’s not an easy task, but Bauer said the committee has been doing well.
The coach acknowledged that West Grand has struggled to win games this season, but Bauer said it’s not for a lack of ability on the team.
Their numbers aren’t huge and the Mustangs only have two seniors as they’ve had to cope with the loss of their point guard, but coach Bauer said the Mustangs really just need to believe in themselves.
With a little more confidence, Bauer thinks some of those losses would have been close games or even victories for West Grand.
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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.