Central girls basketball team learning on the fly

Central girls basketball assistant coach Becky Graham leads practice Monday at Central High School. The Warriors are focused on getting ready for their Dec. 4 game against Pine Creek.

The official start for winter sports practices was Nov. 12.

The first game for Central High School’s girls basketball team is Dec. 4 at home against Pine Creek High School.

That’s not much time for a group with only one starter and three returning varsity players to mold into a cohesive team.

“We have a ton to learn and are jamming everything we can into two hours,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “We need to get a group who will compete at and push them hard.”

The Warriors face the challenge that winter sports presents to all programs: How do you get ready for games in less than three weeks?

“They aren’t going to like me too much, and that’s OK because we want to know who’s been tested,” Dixon said. “There isn’t much time, but I see they are ready to work hard.”

Central finished its try-outs on Monday, and begins practice today.

“We are in a big transition mode,” Dixon said. “But the kids who are out here are hungry and ready to go.”

Brittany Hoppe is the only player returning with significant playing time for the Warriors. Hoppe, a point guard, also was a starter on the softball team that advanced to the state tournament, so she hasn’t had much time to get readjusted to the basketball court.

“I’ve had a good week to get back to it,” Hoppe said. “Being an upperclassman, I have to set the bar for the younger girls and show them some enthusiasm.”

Seniors Katie Fox and Amanda Chaffin were the other two varsity players last season, but neither saw much action.

Dixon said he’s using the next two weeks to get the team ready for a demanding three-month season.

“We need a specific type of kid who’s willing to run through a wall,” Dixon said. “We know we have a lot of work to catch up with these teams fundamentally, so we are looking for kids to have intensity and heart.”

Central is attempting to replace Amy Kame, who averaged nearly 25 points per game last season. Kame is playing college basketball at the University of San Diego.

Dixon said he’s pushing the group to buy into his approach, and spend the next three weeks building an identity.

“You don’t need to be an Amy Kame,” Dixon said. “You just have to be an athlete who wants to compete at the highest level and that’s what we are trying to foster. We want them to not be scared or intimidated.”


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