Richmond already has chemistry on the court.
Now, the Red Devils are working on establishing an identity for the 2013-14 girls basketball team.
Casey Pohlenz enters his sixth year leading Richmond’s program, with a mixture of youth and returning talent and an optimistic outlook about the Red Devils’ season.
“They’re learning and they’re willing to learn. They are very coachable,” Pohlenz said. “They seem to genuinely like each other, and they like basketball. It’s so important that they like those two things.”
Mackenzie Taylor, a junior who already has verbally committed to Wright State, paced the Red Devils with 21.7 points and 4.1 rebounds her sophomore season. She also dished a team-high 87 assists and made 117 steals.
Taylor tore her ACL in June, and while the talented guard has progressed nicely in her recovery, Pohlenz said she could miss time early in the season.
“She’s getting better every day,” Pohlenz said. “I would never, ever, bet against Mackenzie in anything. Having said that, we’re going to be really smart. It’s the end that matters, not the beginning.”
The Red Devils will lean on other positions and players, including seniors Bailey Hillard and Sarah Richards, juniors Paetyn Claiborne and Brandi Sims and sophomores Hannah Goddard, Raya Fields and Tahsiah Ferguson.
Freshmen Destiny Perkins, Lexus Perkins, Kelsey Luce and Lillian Sagna also are expected contributors.
“We need to be clean on offense, take care of the ball and execute,” Pohlenz said. “We need to be consistent on the defensive end.”
Hillard averaged 7.4 points as a junior, third best for the Red Devils, to go with 3 rebounds per game.
Pohlenz expects to have depth this season, especially at the post position with Richards, Fields and Lexus Perkins.
“We have a lot of kids who can play a lot of different positions,” he said.
“We have a lot of options on the wing, lot of options at the post. That’s not something we’ve had in the past.”
RHS is coming off a 12-11 campaign in 2012-13. It was the third straight winning season for the program.
Richmond also finished 3-4 in the North Central Conference, and tied for fourth place with Huntington North. Logansport went 7-0 to win last year’s conference crown, and Pohlenz expects the Berries to again contend for the top spot.
“I think it’s going to be real tight,” he said.
Richmond opens this Friday with a road trip to Centerville.
The Red Devils then play host Nov. 22 to Ohio foe National Trail, the first of three straight home games that also includes clashes with Rushville (Nov. 30) and Danville (Dec. 7).
Richmond’s first NCC game is Dec. 14 at Anderson.
Pohlenz is eager to see the season start with Friday’s trip to Centerville.
“That game is going to be a challenge,” he said of opening at the Bulldogs. “Centerville is really athletic. They have good depth, good young kids who are hungry to win. We’re going to have to come in and battle for everything we get.
” … I really like coaching them (the Red Devils). They’re a really good team. Their energy and enthusiasm is really good. It’s just going to be how quick can they learn what we want them to learn.”