Mistakes will happen, but as long as they happen in December, Springfield Catholic girls basketball coach Joshua Miller is OK with that.
Senior guard Chelsea Collins leads a team largely composed of freshmen and sophomores into the winter season. A look down the roster might suggest that the Lady Irish are building for 2016, but Miller says they are building for February 2015. Five freshmen and a pair of sophomores are expected to contribute now.
“Four of (the freshmen) have played since they were little kids, played competitive, traveled, played AAU, and since they were little kids knew that when they were going to high school they were playing varsity,” Miller said. “They’ve put those hours in the gym and they’ve put those hours on the road, so they’re ready for it.”
Catholic’s record stands at 1-1 with a loss to Stockton and a 61-57 win over Buffalo in a tournament in Fair Grove.
“We’re so young and the mistakes that we’re making are freshman mistakes, and we fully expect to continue get better,” Miller said.
Collins averaged about 15 points per game her junior season. She started every game for the Lady Irish since her freshman year.
Sophomore forward Sarah Posey and 5-foot-4 guard Maggie Meek gained some varsity experience last season.
After that, Miller turns to freshmen Audrey Warren, Addyson Wilgus, Jordan Wersinger, Emma Lucas and MacKenzie Serrano.
The Irish worked on utilizing their speed to break full-court press defenses in preparation for a tournament game with West Plains.
“We’re very guard-heavy, I could have six guards out there,” Miller said. “We’ve got seven that can play and seven that could start. We’re hoping that there will be seven different starters all year long, that they’ll be battling it out in practices.”
Catholic has a three-pronged approach toward winning games: shoot at least 35 percent from the field, win the rebounding battle, and limit turnovers to 12 or fewer. It worked against Buffalo, which boasts recent SBU-signee Morgan Henderson, a 5-foot-11 guard who scores 19.2 points per game.
Catholic’s home opener is set for Dec. 11 against Ash Grove. The Irish also will host Branson and Strafford this month before taking part in the Pink and White Lady Classic Dec. 26-30.
Springfield Catholic girls
Coach: Joshua Miller
Last year: 9-15, : lost 51-48 to Ava in Class 3 District 11 semifinals
1-6 at Fair Grove Invitational, 9 at Mt. Vernon, 11 vs. Ash Grove, 15 vs. Branson, 18 vs. Strafford, 26-30 at Pink and White Lady Classic
5 at Aurora, 8 at Fair Grove, 15 vs. Seymour, 19-24 at Stockton tournament, 26 vs. Reeds Spring, 30 vs. Greenwood
2 at Hollister, 5 at Rogersville, 9 at Central, 12 at Buffalo, 16 vs. Marshfield, 19 vs. Bolivar, 23-29 Class 3, District 11 tournament