MCHS girls have young, experienced roster this yearThe Mitchell Christian girls’ basketball team is young, but experienced. The Eagles only return one senior and have a slew of eighth-, ninth- and tenth-graders. Still, they have four returning starters from last year’s squad that finished 8-13.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Christian girls’ basketball team is young, but experienced.
The Eagles only return one senior and have a slew of eighth-, ninth- and tenth-graders. Still, they have four returning starters from last year’s squad that finished 8-13.
“We are really excited about this season,” MCHS head coach Jackie Van Laecken said before Monday’s practice. “We have all but one of our starters back. We have had some great practices and the team is really meshing well.
“We have a lot of experience with these kids because they have had to play a lot of years.”
When the Eagles take the court against Wolsey-Wessington at 8 p.m. tonight at Mitchell Christian School, the starting lineup will consist of Brittany Zoss, Alexa Van Laecken, Becca Glanzer, Khiree Held and Emily Reynen.
Alexa Van Laecken contributed to the team in several ways last season, averaging 13.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.8 steals per game last year. Becca Glanzer averaged 9.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.6 steals. Both are juniors.
With such a young squad, Glanzer — one of the team’s leaders — deems it imperative she uses the experience she has gained over the years to help her teammates get better this season.
“I remember when I was young how valuable it was for me to have someone to look up to and teach me, so I just want to do that for these younger kids,” said Glanzer, who has been on the varsity team since the seventh grade and started since she was an eighth-grader.
Glanzer and Alexa Van Laecken, who is also the daughter of the team’s head coach, are both guards and will handle the backcourt for the Eagles. The younger Van Lacken, who has also been on varsity since the seventh grade, said that playing early on has been difficult at times, but she is starting to get comfortable.
“At times it has been tough because I have never really been able to play against my grade level, but you have to adjust to it and now I am getting used to it,” she said.
Coach Van Laecken said Held and Reynen add height, something the Eagles have lacked the last couple of years. Held is a 5-foot-8 freshman guard/forward and Reynen is a 5-foot-9 center/forward.
Last season, Reynen averaged 4 points and 4 rebounds per game, while Held averaged 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Zoss, a 5-foot-5 senior forward, averaged 3.9 points and 4.9 rebounds last year.
“The girls are ready to go,” Van Laecken said. “Everybody has some nerves because it’s the first game, but we are ready to get out on the court and put some things together.”
Last season, Mitchell Christian lost in the first round of the district tournament. The coach said she’s looking for improvement off that finish this season.