After experiencing two straight losing campaigns, the Greenwood Christian Academy girls basketball team reversed fortunes last season.
The Class A Cougars, under then-first-year coach Alan Weems, finished 14-9 overall and garnered second place in the Pioneer Academic Athletic Conference at 4-1 behind Shortridge.
Weems expects the Cougars to build on the foundation of last year’s success.
“We stayed positive and represented well, and with that our kids gained a great deal of confidence,” Weems said. “Our players are better equipped to understand expectations and what to expect from me. Our system is already in place, so we’re not starting from ground zero.
“We’re already way ahead of where we were a year ago.”
Weems noted summer league experience gave his team a chance to play against some very tough competition.
“We put in a lot of time working on individual skills such as blocking out, screening and defensive positioning,” he said. “I think you’ll also see a big jump in our shooting abilities.“
Lost to graduation was the Cougars’ leading scorer, point guard Hannah Wright. But they return experienced players in sophomore guards Hannah Peters and Brianna Lawrence.
“We really like what we have in Hannah Peters, who will be at the point,” Weems said. “Her ball-handling abilities and decision-making were excellent during the summer. (Lawrence) has the potential to be the best shooter our school has ever known.
“I believe she will be as good a shooter as there is in Johnson County.”
The Cougars also are counting on junior forwards Kate Harris and Meghan Mercier, who add size and athleticism.
Another forward, 5-foot-9 senior Katelyn Ruddick, is recovering from a recent surgery but is expected back in January.
“With the success we had last season, our kids are ready to take the next step,” Weems said. “We will continue to work hard, compete and stress fundamentals.”