Steamboat girls basketball leans on defense this season
After taking over as head coach halfway through last season, Maggie Crouch is poised to take on her first full year as head coach for Steamboat Springs girls basketball.
The No. 1 focus this season for the Sailors is to develop a strong defensive rotation while simultaneously acknowledging the athletes who are willing and able to get to the basket for points.
Crouch explained to her athletes it does not matter if they win 2-0. A win is a win and a great defense will help achieve that.
With a strong core graduating last year, the Sailors will be a younger and less-experienced team this year.
Leadership will be a key factor for the Sailors this season as Crouch only has a few veterans returning to the varsity team.
“We’re definitely really young,” Crouch said. “We graduated a really key group of seniors and only have three kids coming back that saw significant varsity time so we’ve been leaning on those three kids as leaders for the last couple weeks.”
Crouch highlighted some of her team leaders including seniors Belize Berry and Reina Bomberski as well as junior Kestyn Ellis.
Berry will be a scoring threat to opponents all season long while Bomberski looks to capitalize on her defensive presence from last season and continue to be a lockdown defender. Ellis will be full-time varsity this season and Crouch is anticipating her to take on an important leadership role.
Crouch has discussed expectations with the team and mostly hopes her athletes compete at a high level while furthering their love for the game.
“The biggest expectation is that we are having fun and we enjoy ourselves as we play,” Crouch said. “We also want to keep it as competitive as possible and create a positive environment for these kids to participate in.”
While juggling her time as head coach of both the middle school and high school girls basketball teams last year, Crouch helped the Sailors reach an 8-15 record while finishing strong in the league at 7-5.
Getting a true preseason this year was an exciting opportunity for Crouch who is looking forward to the tip-off of the team’s first regular season game of the year on Dec. 2 against Prospect Ridge Academy on the road.
The girls have been practicing since early November and Crouch believes her girls are ready to take on the season.
“They will finally get a chance to implement the stuff that we had to teach them in a rush last year,” Crouch said. “Now we’ve had time to really work on it and develop it. I think they’re feeling pretty comfortable with new offensive and defensive schemes. They are excited, everyone is excited.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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