July 17, 2008

New Coach Looking to Build Lady Tigers Hoops Program With Busy Off Season

Champions are crowned at the end of the sports season… but they are built during the off season.

That has been the mindset displayed by the Scotland County girls basketball program under the new leadership of first-year coach Jaryt Hunziker.

The Lady Tigers varsity squad has participated in open gym three days a week, also hitting the weight room on those occasions. SCR-I has hosted its own team camp and the girls have traveled to compete in three other team tourneys.

“Before we got started I gave them some team goals for this summer,” said Hunziker. “Obviously we want the team to show improvement over the summer but we really stressed three D’s, dedication, discipline, and defense,”

The later will be a trademark of Hunziker’s squads.

He asked the girls to focus on playing together as a team and to strive to play the best team defense they are capable of.

That ability was put on display in June.

Hunziker set the bar high for his new team’s first test. The Lady Tigers traveled to Illinois June 14th for the Quincy University Shootout. SCR-I opened with a win over Palmyra before dropping games to Quincy Notre Dame, West Hancock and California. The junior varsity girls were defeated by South Shelby, Clark County, California and Warrenton.

“We really loaded their schedule up with some tough competition,” Hunziker said. “Plus we were forced to play the sophomores at both levels, meaning they played eight games in one day, so we were definitely wore out when it was all said and done.”

Stamina wasn’t a factor June 18-20 when the girls hit the Schuyler County Shootout in Lancaster. Hunziker said it won’t be an issue during the year either as he plans to be able to go 10 or 11 deep if he needs to.

“We have some good depth that will not only help us on the court, but I think will also drive the girls to improve with a little inner competition for playing time,” Hunziker said.

Over the three days in Queen City, the Lady Tigers varsity squad went 8-4, beating Morris, IL both the varsity and junior varsity; Silex; Paris; Braymer; Glasgow; Jefferson, and Community R-6. The losses were to New Franklin, Moberly, Highland and South Nodway, with two of the defeats by just single digit deficits.

“The shootout was tough for our kids because we really get after it on defense, and the format awards a point to the opposition for every foul you are whistled for,” Hunziker said.

The coach noted the aggressive man-to-man defense obviously will result in a few more foul calls against the Lady Tigers, but come the regular season, those plays won’t have the same impact as they did under the shootout rules.

The SCR-I junior varsity team went 3-1 at the shootout, beating the varsity squads from LaPlata, Bucklin and Schuyler County before losing to Marion County’s varsity team.

The final camp for the Lady Tigers was June 27-29. The Licking Camp was held in Rolla. The varsity team went 4-2 in tournament play, bowing out of bracket play with a sudden-death overtime loss to Verona. The junior varsity team recorded a 3-4 mark, losing in their bracket championship contest by four points to DeSoto.

Participants in the summer program have included seniors Melissa Cotton, Deidra Dochterman, Valerie Oldham, Kelsey Frazier, Betsey Kittle and Kaitlin Caldwell; sophomores Ashley Tague, Anna Duley, Skylar Alderton, Jamie Shaw, Catie Shalley, Ashley Howes, Aimee Dale (injured); and freshmen Cali Holt, Courtney Jackson, Kiley Frazier and Loren Smith.

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