In the opinion of Coal City coach Brad Schmitt, having his girls basketball team out on the floor early and often this summer is a huge key to success.
“We’re doing exactly what we’ve needed to do. We’ve played a competitive schedule to make sure the girls are ready for the season,” Schmitt said. “I think we’re doing what we’ve needed to do. We’re getting better. We’re committed to getting better.
“After this week, I’d say we’ll have 25-30 games in. We’ll see how much that helps come winter time.”
Considering the early results, I’d say indications are positive.
“We’ve only lost one game — in Lisle,” senior guard Emily Halliday said. “Until today, that is.”
That action on Tuesday was the Morris Ladies Shootout in which the Coalers beat Romeoville 36-22 but lost to Ottawa (36-29) and Moline (35-25).
Still, it’s all about getting the work in.
“A lot of it is getting the sophomores, the incoming juniors, some varsity time so that they are ready for the season,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt said that he likes getting to face the teams that are annually in the Morris Shootout.
“Last year I inquired about it and there wasn’t any openings,” he said. “This year they called us and I’m glad that we are here. This is exactly the kind of competition we need.”
“I think it’s cool to know that we are capable of playing with the bigger schools,” Halliday said. “Schools with this kind of talent.”
Seniors Halliday, Britta Spelde and Brittany Jezik are back from last year for the Coalers, as is junior Nicole Borgetti.
“Brittany Jezik is our point guard and she’s come a long way. She’s also scoring more for us this summer,” Halliday said. “Britta Spelde is our post who is coming back and then there is Nicole Borgetti and me.”
“We do have a core back. We are still missing some kids, but the core is here are we are going to try and build around them and they know that,” Schmitt said. “It’s their job to make everyone else around them better, as well. It’s up to everyone to make this a whole-team threat instead of just one or two girls.”
Halliday says the team has gotten better since the last season in which the Coalers took the floor.
“We’re definitely seeing some positive things. We’ve gotten a lot better from last year — we’re stronger and faster. We also have a lot of people coming back. Not only that, but people who can score,” she said. “It’s gone good. This year we’re trying to push it more because we don’t have the height, obviously. So if we are playing a team who has the height with taller and slower girls, we are pushing it and trying to get the guard play up with the post and beat them up the floor.”
Then do it against a stacked schedule.
“I think this summer and with the schedule we are trying to play, we’re trying to get better by working on a number of things,” Schmitt said. “Our half-court man has to get a little tougher. That’s something we’re trying to improve on, but when you are playing teams of this caliber, it is only going to make you tougher.”