STRATTANVILLE — In these uncertain times with COVID-19 restrictions surrounding high school sports, the Clarion-Limestone Lady Lions basketball team and head coach Gus Simpson are anxious to continue to build on the foundation that was laid when he came back to coaching four years ago.
C-L finished with an 8-14 record with the Lady Lions being competitive in many of those games, so the team wants to flip that around into a winning season.
“I think for us our goals are going to be slightly changing because at this point we know what we need to do so this year our goal is finishing,” said Simpson. “When you are teaching the goal is to go quarter by quarter and see what happens. Now that we have that experience under our belt the teaching is at a minimum and these girls have to go out and finish off games.”
Simpson has a pretty good group in which to work with having four seniors and six players overall out of 12 who played significant minutes last season.
Junior Frances Milliron led the way in scoring at 10.9 points per game. Seniors Janelle Pezzuti (6.2) and Anna Kennemuth (6.1), sophomore Kendall Dunn (5.8), and seniors Maddy Wenner (4.5) and Sydney Simpson (3.4) round out the scorers from last season.
“These seniors were all freshmen when I came back to coaching,” said Gus Simpson. “They know what the expectations are and they know what it takes. Whether it’s a voice on the floor or on the bench so that should benefit us. I think our unity is our biggest strength along with the fact that we are pretty quick. I think that quickness is going to allow us to do some different things defensively.”
Simpson also feels that his team has a bit of size which should help.
“We have Maddy (Wenner) who didn’t get much playing time early on, but has been seeing her role increase over these last couple of seasons. I’m also anxious to see how freshman Alyssa Wiant continues to grow and develop so that will be fun to watch.”
As far as entering the season with the uncertainty of the COVID situation, Simpson feels that every team is pretty much the same in that regard.
“Everybody is in the same boat at this point so we can’t dwell on things as far as the stopping and re-starting of practices,” said Simpson. “There are no excuses and I’m sure every coach is going to say the same thing. I’m just glad we’re giving these kids a chance to play.”
Simpson has four freshmen whom he feels is going to contribute as well in Grace Shick, Sarah Sebastian, Lexi Coull, Alex Leadbetter and Wiant. Sophomore Carly Renninger is another player that’ll eventually be active once she returns from injury.
“This has been a pretty good process over the past couple of seasons,” said Simpson. “Now we have kids on the same page with their experience and what we’re asking them to do. it should make us competitive. It’s just a matter of how well we play. With that experience it’s just a matter of what we do with it.”
At presstime, no schedule had been released for the Lady Lions, who likely begin sometime next week.
Seniors: Sydney Simpson, Janelle Pezzuti, Anna Kennemuth, Maddy Wenner.
Junior: Frances Milliron
Sophomores: Kendall Dunn, Carly Renninger
Freshmen: Grace Shick, Sarah Sebastian, Lexi Coull, Alex Leadbetter, Alyssa Wiant.