The Hotchkiss High School girls' basketball team has a new coach but the same old winning attitude as the Bulldogs hit the hardwood for the 2015 season.
Ginger McPherson is in her first year on the Bulldogs bench and also is teaching mathematics at the high school. She takes over a team that is short on experience but long on positive attitude.
"We have some high goals," McPherson said after the first game of the season. "We want to get into some playoff games, we want to accomplish that. We hope to see them reach their full potential and see what they can do on the court."
Some of the players have been teammates for a long time while some of the other Bulldogs are just at the beginning of their basketball careers. It was new for everybody during the first week of practice.
"The first day of practice was kind of hectic," Bulldogs senior Sam Galley said. "We didn't know anything, we didn't know anyone. Now we feel like we can make a pass with eye contact. We know each other. Practices have been really good since then, our conditioning is better, we've been pushing each other."
Leading the way for the Bulldogs will be seniors Galley, Mae Anderson, Kenley Derby, Chase Bizer and Alondra Gallegos.
"They are the leadership, they are the glue that holds our team together," McPherson said.
Galley is just happy to be back on the floor after a knee injury knocked her out for the season last year. She is excited about playing her senior season with Anderson and the rest of the Bulldogs seniors.
"Me and Mae have played together since, like, the third grade," Galley said. "We kind of know each other. There's a lot of talent on this team. This year we should be set."
The Bulldogs' roster has depth, and McPherson will have options when choosing the lineup. Junior Lacey Rodriguez is a starter and plays a vital role on both sides of the floor for the Bulldogs.
Sophomore players Andi Todd and Mikayla Helm also figure to get important minutes throughout the season.
Rounding out the Hotchkiss varsity squad will be freshmen Carson Collins and Kiaya Firor. Both are natural athletes.
Collins was a varsity volleyball player, and Firor qualified for state in cross country before switching to basketball.
"They're really good athletes," McPherson said about the young Bulldogs. "I don't think for sure they know how good of athletes they really are. But they will be good. They'll be program builders for us."
The Bulldogs hope the team-building process yields some big wins for the squad this season.
"I just hope they can finally reach their full potential, as players and as a team," said McPherson. "Now they just have to go out and play."
The Bulldogs hope that working on the easy things will pay off in the end.
"We want to come together as a team," Galley said. "We want to play all the way to the last day of the season, and we want to beat our rivals. We have simpler goals. Love each other. Work together."