Pine-Richland girls look to turn effort, improvement into victories

Friday, January 18, 2019 | 7:45 PM

The wins may not be stacking up for the Pine-Richland girls basketball team, but at the halfway point of the season, coach Tom Reighard can say one thing with certainty about his squad — they bring their hard hat every night, literally and figuratively.

“I have a hard hat, like a construction hard hat. We have Rams horns painted on it. To win that hard hat, there’s a point total assigned for things like taking a charge, getting loose balls, tips from behind, offensive rebounds, and the kid that wins it each night gets to wear it until the next game,” Reighard said.

“It’s a motivational thing that the girls are having fun with. But it’s great because they come to battle every night. We’re giving our best effort. We’re struggling to get wins right now, but they’re giving their best on the floor and that’s what it’s all about.”

While the effort is there, the Rams (3-11, 1-6) are trying to translate that work ethic into more points on the offensive end. Their scoring average is among the lower half in Section 1-6A. Yet, there is reason to expect improvements.

In 14 games, the upperclassmen have shouldered most of the scoring load for Pine-Richland, with senior Kendall Gessner tallying nine points per game, junior Meghan Luellen scoring eight ppg and senior Alaina Kalin averaging seven. Another senior starter, Meghan O’Connor, is also contributing.

Still, there are a number of freshmen receiving playing time for Pine-Richland. One of them, Christina Yarbrough, is a starter. Maddie Patton, Gianna Reighard and Kaitlyn Kerns are seeing minutes off the bench.

Given the relative inexperience, it may be unreasonable for them to transform into an offensive firepower in the second half of the season. But with five of their 11 losses coming by 10 points or fewer, a small bump in scoring could help convert those close losses into wins.

And with the consistent effort the team is putting in, combined with the development of their first-year players, Reighard said positive results could be on the horizon.

“Of course, we want some more wins. We want to make the playoffs. But if we keep putting in this type of effort that we have been putting in, hopefully we can turn a corner here in the second part of the season,” he said.

“I think it can happen. The positive attitude is there, and that’s so important. The girls work so hard, and work for each other. I’m expecting some more wins, and I think they are, too.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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