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By Andrew Christiansen
The Sentinel 

Young guards support Lady Pirate inside attack


Jeff King

BICKLETON VARSITY GIRLS: The 2013-14 Lady Pirates are (front row l-r): Lacy Cannon, Hannah Delbrook, Hali O'Banion, Annie Lindsley, Emily Hanson, Priscilla Macias. Back row (l-r): Kira Harvey, Daniella Smith, Sydnie O'Banion-Whitmore, Heather Goodnight, Lindsay Brown, Katrina Cardenas, Jayce Alexander, Manager Kelsey Spalding.

There are big changes in Bickleton as Coach Emily Barnhart says this is the first year she has had more new girls than returning players. In fact there are just two seniors, four eighth graders and three freshmen on this year's team. Three or four of those young players are already making significant impact on the team.

The anchor to this club is the returning post player, Lindsay Brown. Brown was the club's only selection to the All Opponents team. She may be the best ball handler on the team, capable of going end to end, but Barnhart says they need her more for her inside game as they rely on some young guards this year. Brown is the kind of player who will come up with double-doubles and is intimidating as a defender.

Brown won't be alone down low with one of two returning seniors, Sydnie O'Banion-Whitmore, a 5-6 forward, Heather Goodnight, a 5-7 sophomore forward, and maybe the newcomer of the year before the year is over, Jayce Alexander, a 5-7 eighth grader.

O'Banion-Whitmore likes to play around the key and is involved in a lot of the physical play as she works for rebounds. She can score, but rebounding and defense are her main suits.

Goodnight had a scary injury in December but is back playing for the Lady Pirates. She is a steady kind of player who takes care of her place on the court, making her a top defender. She will score some points for Bickleton, looking to score when she is inside 12 feet.

Alexander plays with the confidence on an upper-classman. She is a good rebounder and is great around the basket where she will use her size, strength and good shooting technique to score. She isn't a Jaime Venema yet, but she does give Bickleton the option of keeping Brown fresh or going with a double post look.

The young guards that Barnhart is relying on are Katrina Cardenas, Hali O'Banion and Kira Harvey. Cardenas and O'Banion are freshmen and Harvey's an eighth grader. "They don't have a lot of experience, but all three show great potential," says Barnhart. The Pirates weren't getting much scoring from the guard position in the early going, as they were more involved in running the offense which looked to score from inside. As the season goes along, and confidence grows, that could change. Cardenas is tall for a guard and is also capable of playing as a forward. Barnhart says Cardenas has one of the technically most correct shot on the team and will make teams pay if they leave her unguarded. O'Banion was a quick, confident player as an eighth grader. She isn't afraid to take off with the ball and isn't bashful about shooting. Harvey is athletic, but will be challenged by some of the league's more mature guards.

Another returning player who also has a good shot is Lacy Cannon. Cannon is someone who plays a subtle game around the fringes of the key. She is an opportunistic scorer, similar to O'Banion-Whitmore, but not as aggressive.

Annie Lindsley is a senior with limited basketball experience. She will help out with the younger girls at guard. Also expected to give the team a boost is Daniela Smith, a newcomer who is a junior. She hasn't seen floor time yet this year, but she is athletic and will likely be a wing player.

Andrew Christiansen

LEADING SCORER, REBOUNDER: Lindsay Brown is the only All-Opponents team selection returning to Bickleton this year.

There are three other players on the bench, Hannah Delbrook, Emily Hanson and Priscilla Macias. They will see some playing time, but will mainly play in junior varsity games.

Last year the Lady Pirates had a 3-7 conference record. It may be difficult to improve on that record with such a youthful team, but they are a team that can run and create problems for a lot of teams. Barnhart says she sees it as a challenge to meld the large number of new girls into the returning core. She says she will build the team to its strengths, but realizes this is a building season. Expect the Pirates to be focused on learning the fundamentals and become used to a system that might be a year away from the payoff. Barnhart says her team practices hard work and hustle. "I tell them every day that I want them to shock people, and I know they have it in them." This may be the team that nobody wants to play.


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