North Gem High School
Conference: 1AD2 Rocky Mountain Conference
Classification: 1A D2
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Head Coach: Dana Strong
Years as Head Coach: 2nd Season
Previous Experience: Timberline High School (Weippe) 2 Years, Port Lions Alaska 10 Years, Hansen Schools 5 Years
Record Last Year: 4-18
State Titles: None
Claire Van Pelt, SG, 11
Kaylee Simmons, C, 11
Kaitlyn Labrouche, F, 11
Jenna Devine, F, 10
Lexee Henry, G, 12
Tearsy Freeman, G, 10
Kylie Freeman, C, 10
Cassidy Corta, PG, 10
Edie Christensen, F, 12
Key Players lost from last year:
Shea Donaldson, G, leading scorer and assist maker
Grace Maxwell, G, team leader
Megan McCulloch, G, top defender
Incoming impact players:
5 freshman girls who each have talent and a bright future
Written by: Sven Alskog
Things have been tough on the hardwood the last couple of years for North Gem, and after taking the lumps, a cohesive unit will look to turn the tide this time around.
Ten players return this season led by the interior trio of Kaylee Simmons, Kaitlyn Labrouche and Jenna Devine. A big key for North Gem will be to get the ball into the paint to take advantage of an area that could give the team an edge come conference play.
"We should have a strong low-post game," said Head Coach Dana Strong. "Kaylee Simmons, Kaitlyn Labrouche and Jenna Devine give us a strong inside presence. We will be working to spread the floor and increase our ball movement."
Perhaps most important though is to hold on to the ball and be smart with it.
"We need fewer turnovers and to shoot for a higher percentage. We averaged almost 30 turnovers and shot around 20 percent last season," added Strong.
Those turnovers led to far too many easy opportunities on the other end for opponents, something which can't happen again if North Gem wants to start getting the program heading back in the upward direction.
Strong thinks he has a solid group with the right mental mindset to do just that.
"The attitudes and desire to improve have been terrific. The girls really want to get better and are willing to work to do so."
Being smart with the ball has to be the priority.
"I call it patient aggression. We want to be aggressive on both ends and make our mistakes going hard and all out. But we want to temper that with smart play," said Strong.
The second year leader on the sideline also thinks that with improved rebounding the Lady Cowboys can be a tough team to beat this season. There are a lot of ifs, but overall with all the returners things are looking up in Bancroft this winter.