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Tue., Nov. 27 - multi-sport-athletes-lead-way-for-bd-girls-team
Multi-sport athletes lead way for BD girls team
© Gainesville TimesHigh school coaches generally do not like to point out that they intentionally booked an easier schedule for their teams than that of the preceding season.
For Tim Brown, this is not an issue.
"We're focused more on wins," said the Brentsville District varsity girls basketball leader. "I set the schedule myself" this year.
After a 5-17 season, testing his players' abilities against top-notch programs didn't seem particularly necessary for Brown in his second go-around as head coach.
Right out of the gate now though, Brown set a lofty goal: match the team's win total from all of last season by Christmas of this year.
The Tigers entered the regular season this week with nine games booked before Dec. 25.
In a perfect world, Brown's squad would enter the second half of the season at 9-0.
Realistically, however, the coach said he expects his group to pull out six or seven wins prior to the start of the Evergreen District schedule on Jan. 4.
When asked whether a sub-.500 record going into January would result in the figurative pushing of the panic button, he repeated the phrase, "We won't" twice, vowing to address "whatever" issues might be plaguing the team instead.
Given the four veterans returning to the team after a year in which barely anyone had any varsity experience, Brentsville on paper should at least be able to compete each night.
Among other differences this year, Brown set up a leadership council of players based on an idea floated by the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.
Any time there is an issue or even if there is not one, the group of five players will hash t out with Brown at weekly meetings.
Already, the group, led by junior captains Becca Winslow, Ashley Winslow and Haleigh Kilby, has produced results.
After their inaugural spring meeting, the captains put up posters around school to gin up interest in the basketball program, something lacking going into last season, according to Ashley Winslow.
"They know more about it" now, added Kilby.
Winslow explained that all three captains play three sports each, so it made sense to reach out to their other athletic friends for membership in order to fill out the varsity and junior varsity rosters.
"There's more to pick from. Some people don;t even play basketball," said Kilby.
At its peak, Brown received interest from 27 perspective players.
That number eventually solidified at 21, 10 of whom made the varsity squad, leaving the other 11 on junior varsity.
Compared to last season, this is a significant change.
Brentsville had to collapse its JV team and fold its remaining members into the varsity squad after only two games due to sicknesses and injuries.
In short, the Tigers barely had enough players for one team, let alone two.
Now, both rosters have enough players to practice five-on-five.
More players also means more competition. The captains unanimously agreed that senior Jessica Murphy is already standing out.
A softball player by trade, she hit a 3-pointer during her first-ever basketball scrimmage.
"She was shocked," said Winslow.
According to Kilby, "It gets us motivated, actually, because she's never played before and she's going 100 percent."
Due to a lack of traditional post players, as Brown described his team's lack of height, the coach again is having his players operate out of a 3-2 style of offense where play revolves around the guards.
"We're kind of used to it and because of it, we've become better shooters," said Winslow.
Brown mentioned that Winslow developed into the "primary shooter" of the team after showing that "she was the best off-season shooter."
Meanwhile, Kilby is the primary ball handler and serves as perhaps the most athletic and confident player on the floor.
"She has a shoot-first mentality," said Brown before adding that she is becoming more of a passer now.
The coach said he expects Winslow and Kilby to be "dead even" as shooters until around Christmas.
At the same time, goal is to develop the left-handed Becca Winslow into a reliable 3-point shooter.
What experience has taught those three is that they understand how each other and Brown operate, which in turn allows them to better direct traffic on the court.
"And you can help your teammates a lot more," said Becca Winslow.
Among the supporting cast, Murphy is just one of six other athletes giving the varsity team a shot while competing in another sport away from the game.
Cross country runners Zoe Everad, Nicole Egan and Gillian Lowe, who is also the varsity soccer goalie, join volleyball player Alie Werner, softball first baseman Allison O'Dell-Dye and golfer Mackie Thompson, who played forward on the team last season.
Though there are a few seniors among the ranks, Brown said he views this season as part of a long-term project given that his captains are juniors.
That said, even in a district featuring powerhouse Liberty and the ever-competitive Warren County, he and his team would still like to make a push for the regional playoffs now.
"I think we're a lot more put together this year," said Ashley Winslow.