Expectations haven't changed for the Circleville High School girls basketball program. The players have. Following a 20-2 season and an outright Mid-State League Buckeye
Division championship, the Lady Tigers are faced with replacing four
starters if they want to extend their MSL title streak to three years.
Expectations haven't changed for the Circleville High School girls basketball program.
The players have.
Following a 20-2 season and an outright Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship, the Lady Tigers are faced with replacing four starters if they want to extend their MSL title streak to three years.
“We lost a lot of our scoring and rebounding off of last year's team,” Circleville coach Steve Kalinoski said. “We have 10 girls this season who should see time on the floor and seven who could start on any given night.”
The lone returner from last year's starting lineup is Circleville senior Casse Mogan, who made first team Southeast District and second team All-State. She averaged 15.8 points per game and also chipped in 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 steals per contest.
“She's a four-year starter for us and we're going to have to rely on her a good bit,” Kalinoski said. “Casse did a good job over the summer knowing her role and how to distribute the ball to the other girls.
“Casse is a good scorer but we also need to have some balance in that department. I'm sure she is going to see some double teams and pressure.”
Circleville returns five other letter winners with seniors Kaitlin Graham and Liz Scudder, and juniors Megan White, Amanda Wade and Kellie Willis.
All five saw minutes on last year's varsity team.
“Liz and Kaitlin are players with experience,” Kalinoski said. “They've been playing on the varsity team for two years and were in the regional game two years ago. They're both strong girls and will have different roles for us this season.”
Other players who should factor into the rotation include Abbey Palmer, Rachael Spangler, Sami Mason and freshman Kourtney Kalinoski.
Except for Mogan, Graham, Scudder and Kalinoski, the other players were apart of last season's 20-0 reserve team.
“We're a more athletic team than we were last year and we want to use that,” coach Kalinoski said. “We're going to play kids in spurts and we want to use our depth and athletic ability to try and wear down the other team.
“We've also put in a couple of different presses to work off of, but we also want to sit down into our half court defense and get stops.”
Two areas the Lady Tigers will have to replace production at is on the perimeter and rebounding. With long runs by the girls soccer and volleyball teams into the postseason, Circleville will be feeling these areas out during the beginning of the season.
“Casse has been working on her perimeter game and we also have a couple of options in Rachael Spangler and Kourtney Kalinoski when she is playing varsity minutes,” coach Kalinoski said. “Megan White, Sami Mason and Kellie Willis have been working hard in the offseason and gotten stronger. Casse averaged five rebounds a game last season and Graham had four a game. With them, White at 6-foot-3, Mason and Willis, we should be able to hit the boards.”
Circleville is scheduled to travel to Chillicothe, Vinton County and Washington Court House for non-league games, while facing Miami Trace and Westfall at home. The Lady Tigers are also slated to play Kettering Alter in the Pickerington Shootout.
“We have a demanding non-league schedule, but we feel that is what we need to get ready for our league and the tournament,” Kalinoski said.
As for the MSL, Kalinoski expects the league to be competitive, especially with teams like Amanda-Clearcreek, Hamilton Township and Fairfield Union.
Even though personnel has changed on the court, the memory of last year's loss to Washington Court House in the sectional championship game isn't far from the thoughts of the Lady Tigers.
“We came out prepared in that game but they beat us,” Kalinoski said. “We expected to make a longer tournament run than that last year and I know some of these girls would like the tournament to start right now.
“But we have a 20-game season ahead of us and goals, like winning the MSL again, before the tournament.”