Josh Sabol was provided six months to integrate himself into every aspect of girls basketball at Franklin Community High School.
Sabol, successor to the retired Walt Raines, deems it time well spent.
“As a coaching staff we were with the players all summer and have been with them all fall,” said Sabol, 37, the head coach at Decatur Central the past two seasons and a Center Grove assistant from 2010-14.
“That makes a huge difference. In that time, we’ve been able to build a good chemistry and a good family atmosphere.”
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Named head coach on April 11, Sabol takes over for a man who led Franklin for 28 seasons with a 339-272 record to show for it.
Raines’ teams flourished with more of a half-court look offensively and defensively; the 53 points the Grizzly Cubs averaged last winter were the program’s most since the 2011-12 season.
Sabol’s plan is for this and future Franklin teams to wreak havoc all over the court by using intense man-to-man defensive pressure.
“What we want is 80 possessions a game, or two and a half possessions per minute,” Sabol said. “We’re going to play 10 or 11 kids every game regardless of the opponent.
“The players buy in because they know they’re going to have a role. Our players really love the idea.”
The Grizzly Cubs graduated guard Maci Eads, who led the team in scoring with a 13.1 average.
Nonetheless, plenty of varsity experience — and athleticism — returns as Sabol attempts to put his system into place and snap the program’s string of four consecutive losing seasons.
Senior forward Allison Barnard utilized her 6-foot frame to average 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds a year ago. Delanie Hill, a 5-7 senior guard, produced 7.5 points a game to go along with 2.4 boards and 1.5 assists.
Also back are 5-3 senior guard Makenna Bertsch (6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg) and 5-7 junior guard Sarah Sullivan (3.5, 4.2, 4.6 apg). Expected to play more substantial roles this season are Cami Cochrane, a 5-5 senior guard (3.5 ppg, 3 rpg), and 5-10 forward Maya Elliott (2.8, 2.3).
Anjie Amin and Rylie Mayo are two more seniors who should see plenty of game action. The latter returns to the court after deciding not to play basketball the past two seasons.
Sabol anticipates sophomore Emilie Hill and 5-10 freshmen Hailee Robbins and Abby DeArmitt getting their varsity minutes. Another newcomer, 5-7 freshman guard Payton Shepard, is also expected to contribute.
Nov. 1;at Mt. Vernon;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 5;at Covenant Christian;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9;Franklin Central;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 15-19;ohnson County tournament at Edinburgh;TBA
Nov. 22;at Center Grove;6 p.m.
Dec. 1;at Beech Grove;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 3;Decatur Central;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10;at Plainfield;1:30 p.m.
Dec. 16;Greenwood;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17;at Shelbyville, 6 p.m.
Dec. 30;Franklin Community tournament;TBA
Jan. 3;Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 6;at Mooresville;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10;Columbus North;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12;at Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21;at Whiteland;1:30 p.m.
Jan. 24;Martinsville,7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26;at Jennings County,7:30 p.m.
Coach: Josh Sabol
Last year: 9-15; lost to Center Grove in semifinal of Center Grove Sectional
Who’s back: Anjie Amin, Allison Barnard, Makenna Bertsch, Cami Cochrane, Maya Elliott, Delanie Hill, Emilie Hill, Sarah Sullivan
Who’s gone: Maci Eads
New kids on the block: Abby DeArmitt, Rylie Mayo, Hailee Robbins, Payton Shepard.
Outlook: Anticipate a faster pace from this Grizzly Cubs squad as it plans to incorporate full-court man-to-man defensive pressure. Barnard, Elliott, Sullivan, Cochrane and Delanie Hill are proven at the varsity level, while no less than three ninth-graders (Robbins, Shepard and DeArmitt) are also expected to see the floor.
Sabol says: “The one thing we’ve tried to establish from Day 1 is a culture of commitment, unity and grit. We’re trying to start with a foundation of those core values. From there, it’s trying to get our system of play put in. We’re definitely going to try to use our speed to our advantage.”