NEW BETHLEHEM — Bringing back almost all of its varsity rotation from last year’s 8-14 season, the Redbank Valley Lady Bulldogs basketball team will try to take advantage of its strong numbers to get back to .500
That hasn’t happened since 2015-16, but third-year head coach Chris Edmonds has a 21-player JV/Varsity roster with plenty of options to sort out when it comes to lineup combinations.
“It’s a good thing,” said Edmonds of his roster size. “At practice, they they understand that there are girls working for minutes, not for positions but basically for minutes, and we’re still trying to work out the rotation, but first two weeks of practice so far, it has been good.”
He has four starters back, led by senior guard Tara Hinderliter, a Third Team All-District 9 selection by D9Sports.Com and a Second Team KSAC pick. She averaged 18.2 points per game and heads into her final year with over 800 career points.
“She definitely needs to continue being that leader,” Edmonds said. “She also needs to look to make her teammates better, not only at the games but also at practice. She’s what starts our offense.”
No other returning player averaged more than five points per game with senior Lauren Smith at 4.4 points per game. Finding offense after Hinderliter might be the biggest key for the Lady Bulldogs.
“I’m looking for Lauren to step up to be another option other than Tara, and then I’m also looking for either a ninth-grader or sophomore, to fill that third person as a scorer, or as an option,” Edmonds said. “We just need one or two to be able to finish when they get the opportunity.”
Juniors Emma Huffman (2.7 ppg.) and Karlee Shoemaker (2.6 ppg.) are returning starters while sophomores Katie Davis (2.0 ppg.), Claire Clouse (1.7 ppg.) and Madison Foringer (1.7 ppg.) all saw rotation time. Seniors Kennedy Heeter and Megan Gourley, and junior Gabby Dinger all saw limited varsity action as well.
Edmonds will look at a flexible five-player offense, “position-less” in modern-day jargon.
“Pretty much everybody can handle the ball. We’re basically going to run a five-out or dribble drive set,” Edmonds said. “We’re looking for a spot-up shooter in the corner and we’re working on the mentality of, if you do get the ball and you’re open, you rip it or go to the hole and attack the basket.
“The girls are picking it up. We also have some wrinkles where we’re going to look for our bigs inside with Madison and Megan.”
Defensively, it’ll be a mix of zone and man-to-man.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to take advantage of our depth and pressure the ball a little bit more,” Edmonds said.
Mike Dawson once again is Edmonds’ assistant coach.
The Lady Bulldogs play just one game at home before the holiday break, Dec. 20 at home against Mercer. With both tournaments on the road this year, starting this weekend at Franklin, the Lady Bulldogs play just eight games at home.
The KSAC switched up its divisional setup a little, moving A-C Valley and Union to the North while Cranberry and Clarion move to the South with the Lady Bulldogs, Karns City, Keystone and Moniteau. In the North, it’s A-C Valley and Union with North Clarion, C-L, Venango Catholic and Forest Area.
Seniors: Megan Gourley, Kennedy Heeter, Tara Hinderliter, Lauren Smith.
Juniors: Eryn Bailey, Makenna Bish, Gabby Dinger, Emma Huffman, Kia Sage, Karlee Shoemaker.
Sophomores: Claire Clouse, Katie Davis, Madison Foringer, Ryleigh Smathers.
Freshmen: Alyssa Bowser, Brooklyn Edmonds, Ryleigh Evans, Ember Hetrick, Alivia Huffman, McKayla McGuire, Caylen Rearick.
Franklin Tip-Off Tournament
6-Franklin, 7 p.m.
7-Iroquois or Conneaut, TBA
10-at Karns City
17-at Clarion (DH), 6 p.m.
27-28-at West Shamokin Tournament
8-at A-C Valley (DH), 7:30 p.m.
10-at Forest Area (DH), 6 p.m.
15-at C-L, 6:30 p.m.
17-at Union (DH), 7:30 p.m.
21-at North Clarion
31-Clarion (DH), 7:30 p.m.
JV games begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. DH indicates a varsity doubleheader with the boys and the starting time listed.