Hotchkiss Lady Bulldogs second-year head basketball coach Eric Hollembeak said he expects another winning season.
Senior Natalie Anderson, lead scorer for Hotchkiss last season, returns at point guard.
Amber Pagone, a 5-foot, 9-inch forward, will also spend some court time at point guard, a position she played beginning in third grade and through middle school. Pagone spent some time at the position last season and said her height — she is about 6 inches taller than Anderson — allows her to see over more players, which allows her to better read the play. Anderson was Hotchkiss' lead scorer last season. Pagone said that bringing the ball down the court will allow Anderson and shooters like Aleksus Wilson and post Katie Richards more opportunities to shoot. "It will be fun," said Pagone. "I'm looking forward to it."
Seniors Marissa Cantrell, Nilam Hypio, and forward Kylie Hodges return to the court for a final season.
For Tazi Mehth, a senior from Turkmenistan, this is her first opportunity to play basketball. Her teammates say that she spends every spare minute in the gym, shooting baskets.
With six players, the junior class is well-represented this year. Richards, who stands just shy of 6 feet, returns at forward/post. Other juniors include Tiffany Clock, Arial Duncan, Kellie Jones, Aleksus Wilson and Kayli Tallent. Tallent, who last played as a freshman, brings speed and ball-handling abilities to the team.
Sophomore players include Mae Anderson, Kynlie Derby, Samantha Galley, Noel Jaramillo and Ashley Lovato.
While there are only 12 girls in the freshman class, two, Tyra Jaramillo and Lacey Rodriguez, will start the season on the junior varsity squad.
"They're a great group of kids. They work well with one another," said Hollembeak.
Hollembeak's coaching philosophy includes giving each player experience at as many positions on the court as possible. "It's good for them," said Hollembeak. "The more they know, the more they can do."
Hollembeak said he sees improvement over last season in this year's team. The Lady Bulldogs were 14-9 overall, and finished third in the 12-team, 2A/1A Western Slope conference. Six of their losses were to the top two teams, Paonia and Meeker. The Lady Bulldogs opened the season at home Tuesday night against Ridgway, and travel Friday to Plateau Valley. They won't have another home game until Jan. 4, when they face Paonia in a non-conference game.
Hotchkiss will open the annual Delta County tournament on Dec. 20 against Delta. That starting time is set for 6 p.m. Loser's bracket games start at 3 p.m. and the title game is at 6.
Of the six games in the first two weeks of January, three will be long road trips of 100 miles or more, with Meeker being the closest site.blog comments powered by Disqus