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Shelby-Rising City Girls Basketball 2018-19: Learning to play with aggression

November 29, 2018

Shelby-Rising City girls basketball was this close to playing for an opportunity to go to state a season ago.

The Huskies advanced out of the first round of sub-districts with a 41-36 win over Nebraska Christian. A night later, S-RC couldn’t find anything resembling a consistent offensive attack, started slow and never recovered in a 30-25 loss to Twin River.

Win that game and suddenly state is a win away.

As it was, the opportunity went by the wayside.

So too did a senior class that accounted for 72 percent of a scoring. If the Huskies are to make a return trip to the sub-district final, or make one more step to sub-state, SR-C will need to find new contributors in 2018-19.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that haven’t had a lot of varsity minutes, so it’s kind of a learning experience getting things on track, learning how we want to play and how we want to do things,” coach Turner Trofholz said last week after practice. “We have a few kids who have that experience, but we need more, obviously.”

Some of those who are likely to take up the mantle of leadership include Sierra Harrison, Jamie Hopwood, Reece Ingalls, Kamryn Pokorney and Taylor Potter. Each of those five played in 20 games or more though only Pokorney with her 5.8 points per game figured into any sort of statistical significance.

In most cases, last year’s juniors and sophomores were in support roles for four seniors led by Sydnie Adams with 11.8 points and Emily Neujahr and her 9.0 points per game mark.

For a group that only scored 36.6 per game, those two alone accounted for 57 percent of the offensive production.

Pokorney led in defensive rebounds, Neujahr averaged the most assists and steals and shot the ball the best from long range. Adams was the most effective shooter overall at 51 percent.

“We’re changing up some things offensively where we can be more aggressive. Our goal is just to be aggressive. It’s tough to replace 80 percent of your scoring,” Trofholz said. “We’re going to try to be more aggressive off the dribble, off the pass, being shot ready, being ready to shoot the ball and passing the ball when we’re not.

“If we can’t shoot, we can’t score. So we just want to be more aggressive all the time.”

Shelby-Rising City scored 53 points in the season-opening win a year ago then never managed more than 50 the rest of the way. The Huskies failed to score 40 or more 15 times in a 9-14 season.

Start to finish, the year included a five-game losing skid then two more that lasted three games.

“It will be interesting to see where we fit. Teams are a lot different this season. You’ve got some kids who transferred out of some schools and teams that have lost some seniors like us. It will be interesting to see where everybody is at,” Trofholz said. “We could be anywhere from top half of the pack to the bottom half of the pack. You just don’t know.”

Top half of the pack means building an identity around playing harder than the opponent, Trofholz said. That means being all over the floor, likely employing a full-court, pressure defense then using that same mentality to push the ball on offense.

It starts with defense where Shelby-Rising City may have to set the tone if the offense again struggles to score.

“It’s always been defense for us,” Trofholz said. “We want to have low-scoring games, prevent teams from getting in the 40s and 50s and try to win those type of games.”

Setting the tone will be the seniors.

“These four seniors, it’s my first class that I’ve coached all four years. They’re very important to the program being here since I’ve been here and bringing up the program the right way,” Trofholz said. “They set the example for the younger girls. It will be interesting to see how they finish out.

“It’s fun to see that first freshmen class, how they’ve grown from then until now.”

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net

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