Winter Sports Preview: Girls’ Basketball

Ashlyn Thomson, Copy Editor

As fall sports come to an end, the season for Manitou Girls’ Basketball is beginning quickly. With coaches Justin Armour, Jessie Nunley and Amy Schofield, the girls are becoming more prepared for their upcoming season. Through the preseason, the Mustangs were getting ready to try out and to start playing games. With the number of girls trying out this year, there will be a Varsity level team and a Junior Varsity team. The turnout for the Lady Mustangs this year is around 20, so the coaches can work with the girls one-on-one and help them to better themselves before the season starts. On the team this year, there are only two seniors, who will be leading the Varsity team: Aniah Olson(12) and Courtney Brown(12). They have both been competing at the varsity level for at least one year.

As a stellar basketball player who has learned to love the game from a young age, Olson is very excited for her senior season of basketball, “I’m hoping this season will be fun and full of success,” she said, “I am beyond excited and can’t wait to play.”

Olson has experienced multiple years of varsity basketball and is very prepared to lead the younger players throughout the season. With this being her final year, she wants to leave everything on the court. All of Olson’s effort, time, hard work and dedication will have her upcoming season reflect a great player. Olson also wants the team to stay close and to support each other no matter what, “The goal for this season is to maintain a family-like bond,” said Olson.

“We need to hold each other accountable and have good discipline,” Brown said, with upperclassmen leading the team, they need to recognize what they need to work on to make the season better. Goals for the team include working hard every day, showing up and giving 100%, to never give up and to have a good attitude.

Players believe that if everyone on the team displays these things every day, they will maintain a successful season and that they can make it to state if they trying their hardest no matter what. Olson believes they have to encourage the younger athletes to follow these expectations for success as well.

Along with the two seniors, the Mustangs also have multiple returning sophomores who played varsity level as freshmen last season. Alexia Vigil showed valuable effort and hard work when she was a freshman and she still continues to make big strides to becoming a better player as the season goes on.

Vigil has various goals to work on before the season begins, “We all need to have the confidence to get to the basket whenever we have the opportunity,” said Vigil, “we need to be able to push the ball down the court while moving fast.” Her main goal for herself is to be able to walk out of every game knowing that she left it all on the court and having no regrets. Vigil also wants to be able to give her teammates the best of opportunities while also creating opportunities for herself.

Another returning sophomore this season is Abigail Parker. Along with Vigil, Parker was also a freshman starting on varsity. As the season went on last year, she showed satisfactory defense and was always giving 100% – no matter what. As another younger player, she has understood that she can become a better teammate and a more prestigious player for the team as the 2019-20 season goes on. Parker has also displayed goals for the team and herself as the season progresses, “From a team standpoint, I think we need to work on our offensive-sets, to have the ability to set up our plays quicker and to work on our half-court sets,” said Parker. Her personal goal is to work on becoming more of an offensive threat and to find her teammates on the court more. Overall, both Parker and Vigil are very excited and prepared for their sophomore season of basketball.

Manitou basketball is also thrilled to welcome multiple stellar freshmen players who have shown lots of potential before the season started. With over ten freshmen coming to open gyms, they have displayed energy and are ready to play. “The incoming freshman have a lot of experience on the court and some have already had experience at the varsity level,” Parker said about the freshmen.

Freshmen such as Grace Allen, Ayla Flett, Avah Armour and Norah Jorstad are multi-sport athletes and all played varsity level volleyball during the fall season. This reflected their hustle and how in shape they are as they attended open gym sessions. Coach Justin Armour believes that if the players focus during practice, put in the time and have good attitudes then they could have the chance to play on varsity.

The MSHS Girls’ Basketball program is most excited for Allen. Allen has been playing basketball since the age of five and has shown determination since day one. Her two older brothers also play basketball and it has reflected how tough Allen is and what she can handle. Because she has been practicing with varsity at open gyms, she has a considerable chance to play on varsity. “Grace Allen is going to be super essential to be playing in the 1,2, or 3 positions. She’s got great ball skills, she’s quick, and she contains a great shot,” Olson said about Allen’s potential.

When it comes down to it, the Manitou Girls’ Basketball team holds a good amount of skill, hustle and quickness. With a large number of young players on the team, there is a great amount of space for new skills, offense and focus. “I think with so many new players, our team will become more competitive. I also think we will be quick and will run the ball whenever possible,” Parker said.

The Lady Mustangs are active and will achieve their goals in every way possible and as Vigil said, “It’s time to get ourselves in the basketball mindset.”