2010-11 AV-CTL Division I and II Girls Basketball Preview
January 31, 2011VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Kansas
By Taylor Eldridge
Rule number one for becoming a successful coach: Be a good copycat.
Ask any coach around and he or she is quick to name off the influences that helped shape their style.
Maize girls basketball coach Jerrod Handy says he has accumulated a long list of his own over the past 14 years. But no matter how much knowledge a coach has of the game, fullfillment of the first rule is worthless without an inability to fuflill rule number two: Inspire players to follow.
"You can have the best philosophy and the best offense, but if nobody believes in it, then it's not going to work," says Handy. "It really doesn't matter what offense you run. If you get everybody to believe in it and accept it, then it's going to work."
After 11 years of coaching boys basketball, Handy switched over to high school girls when his two daughters began to grow up. "I realized that's where my focus should be," he says.
He accepted his first girls gig at Wichita Northwest in 2007. The program was floundering in a so-so City League and Handy went 7-14 in his first season. The next year Northwest claimed 12 wins and a fourth-place league finish, the program's highest City League finish since 2000.
Last year he moved to Maize and inherited a team that finished with four wins the previous season. After a 1-3 start, the Eagles rattled off 15 more wins, winning Division I of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League and making it to the Class 6A state tournament.
"He gets his kids to believe," says Goddard coach Lee Keller, who took his team to 6A state the two seasons previous to Maize in 2008 and 2009. "They play hard for him. And that's all you want as a coach, is for your kids to play hard for you."
Handy's teams play simple man-to-man defense and spread the floor on offense to create lanes to the basket. He platoons on substitutions - five in, five out. Playing according to such a substitution pattern demands that every player buy into the program and not worry about individual minutes on the court.
"I think it took a few weeks for some people to realize it," Maize senior Erin Roeser said of last season. "They were frustrated and felt like they should be playing more. But once we started winning, they realized that his system was best."
Players who had previously scored in double-figures and averaged major minutes were asked to sacrifice. It's not always a popular strategy, which is where Handy goes to work.
"We just talk about it a lot with the girls," he says. "I have a lot of one-on-one meetings with them and we have our captains talk about it to the team. It's something we expect our kids to buy into."
The method has its obvious benefits - constant full-court pressure and wearing down opposing teams - but it cannot be executed without depth. Any team can run five players in and out of the game, but Handy has had enough depth to pull it off effectively.
He doesn't have a system in place to predetermine minutes for each starter; rather, he goes off the feel of the game.
"I trust my coach to know what he's doing," says Roeser. "If he thinks it's best for the team if I come out after three minutes, then that's what I'm going to do. We trust him."
Handy admits the system does have its flaws - lack of continuity on offense is the major concern. But so far, it's won some games, which is a major motivation factor for players.
"As long as you keep winning, everybody's happy," Handy says. "They will do anything for you, as long as you show them your way is the way to win."
Photo by Bill Millspaugh
ARK VALLEY-CHISHOLM TRAIL DIVISION I
1. Newton (17-6, DII 2nd/5A State)
Coach: Randy Jordan (8th season with Railers)
2. Maize (16-7, DI 1st/6A State)
Coach: Jerrod Handy (2nd season with Eagles)
3. Salina South (15-7, DI 2nd/Sub-State Final)
Coach: Jason Hooper (5th season with Cougars)
4. Hutchinson (8-13, DI 5th)
Coach: Tom Clark (4th season with Salthawks)
5. Salina Central (11-10, D1 4th)
Coach: Geoff Andrews (2nd season with Mustangs)
6. Campus (7-14, DII 3rd)
Coach: Josh Curtiss (3rd season with Colts)
7. Derby (1-20, DI 6th)
Coach: Jessica Stuhlsatz (2nd season with Panthers)
ARK VALLEY-CHISHOLM TRAIL DIVISION II
1. McPherson (20-3, DII 1st/5A State)
Coach: Chris Strathman (6th season with Bullpups)
2. Andover Central (25-0, DIII 1st/5A State Champs)
Coach: Stana Jefferson (7th season with Jaguars)
3. Goddard (11-11, DI 3rd/Sub-State Final)
Coach: Lee Keller (14th season with Lions)
4. Andover (17-5, DIII 2nd/Sub-State Final)
Coach: Max Hamblin (6th season with Trojans)
5. Valley Center (6-15, DII 4th)
Coach: Daniel Smith (2nd season with Hornets)
6. Arkansas City (2-19, DII 6th)
Coach: Roxi Bratcher (3rd season with Bulldogs)
C SR Kate Lehman (6-4), Newton PPG: 15.8 BPG: 5.5
C SR Sally Thompson (6-2), Salina So. PPG: 13.7 BPG: 2.7
PG SR Casyn Buchman (5-8), Mac PPG: 13.6 SPG: 2.8
PF SO Katelyn Loecker (6-0), Mac PPG: 13.0 RPG: 10.2
SF SR Kjia Hart (5-10), Goddard PPG: 12.1 3PT%: 38
PF JR Taylor Mayes (6-0), Hutchinson PPG: 11.0
SG SR Casandra Brown (5-5), Campus PPG: 10.5 3PT%: 34.8
PF SR Avery Vogts (5-10), Newton PPG: 10.2 RPG: 4.8
F JR Bri Starks (6-0), Hutchinson PPG: 9.6
PG SR Taylor Tilson (5-9), Andover PPG: 9.0 APG: 3.1
PG SR Logan Antenen (5-8), Sal. So. PPG: 8.8 APG: 4.9
SF JR Audrey Meisch (5-10), Andover PPG: 8.2 3PT%: 37
PG JR Laci McCartney (5-5), Newton PPG: 7.6 APG: 3.4
SG SR Catherine Cranmer (5-7), Andv PPG: 7.6 FT%: 80
PF SR Amy Williams (5-10), Andover PPG: 7.5 RPG: 5.0
PF SR Courtney Wiggins (6-0), S. Cen. PPG: 7.2 RPG: 9.9
PG SR Brooke Dickey (5-5), Campus PPG: 6.8 RPG: 3.8
SG SR Bailey Counts (5-7), Sal. Cen. PPG: 6.3 3PT%: 37
SG JR Tanner Hein (5-2), McPherson PPG: 6.2 SPG: 2.7
SG SR Devon McCreath (5-7), Maize PPG: 6.0 FG%: 44
C SR Sarah Gaeddert (6-0), Mac PPG: 5.7 RPG: 5.1
C SR Erin Roeser (5-11), Maize PPG: 5.5 RPG: 5.0
PF SR Hannah Puthoff (5-10), Goddard PPG: 5.1 RPG: 6.7
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Andover Central's total number of three-point field goal attempts last season in 25 games. Central bypassed the post scoring option, scoring with three-pointers and counters off defense. Central's Bias, which attempted 163 of the three-pointers, graduated.
Newton's three-point field goal shooting percentage as a team last season, led by returners Vogts (39%) and McCartney (36%). The return of 6-4 post Kate Lehman should keep the outside open.
Salina Central's average number of rebounds per game last season. The Mustangs had seven players average at least two rebounds per game, and their individual rebounding leader, Wiggins, returns.
Andover Central at McPherson, Dec. 17
McPherson at Andover Central, Feb. 15
Defending Class 5A champ Andover Central invades the league frequent 5A state team McPherson has dominated. McPherson retains the core from their 20-3 state team of a year ago, while Central must replace Tiffany Bias, the point guard on both Central's undefeated title teams (2008, 2010).
Carroll at Goddard, Jan. 15
Carroll, lacking tough games in league play, steps out of the city for a game at Goddard, which missed state last season after two straight 6A appearances. Goddard should be better this season, with their leading scorer back.
McPherson at Newton, Jan. 18
McPherson took both games from Newton last season in league play before both made the 5A state tourney. With Newton moved up to Division I, the two teams play once this season. Both teams return their top guards and post player.
Goddard at Maize, Feb. 4
With Goddard's move down to Division II, the west-side rivalry, which is usually very competitive though Maize easily swept last season, is whittled down to one meeting. There's always potential for a sub-state re-match.
The Newton tournament is always competitive. The Railers may draw a third regular season meeting with Andover Central and/or get an early look at Bishop Miege, a perennial state team in Class 5A. Rose Hill, a top AV-CTL team from Division III, two from out west, Dodge and Garden City, Kapaun out of Wichita and Olathe Northwest round out the field.