Young North Hills girls basketball grows from challenges

Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 8:00 PM

After one run-through of its Section 1-6A schedule, the North Hills girls basketball team is finding wins hard to come by.

Coming into the season, lofty goals such as winning the section title would have been a tough ask for a young Indians (2-9, 1-5) squad that carries more freshmen and sophomores than juniors and seniors. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the team’s closely battled losses.

Coach Lauren Wilmus said she is seeing important progress from her young group. Progress, she hopes, that will help the Indians grow into a team that may be able to compete for a section crown, or a playoff spot, sooner rather then later.

“I knew going into the season that we had a good chance at staying in the pack in our section, and I think that’s still the case with the second half of our section schedule starting,” Wilmus said.

“We had some tough battles throughout December and over the last few weeks and lost some games that we could have won. We lost four key section games by a combined total of 31 points. So we are right there. We are just trying to stay consistent. It truly is a process.”

The Indians are led by their big three: junior Savannah Powers, sophomore Lexi Kotwica and sophomore Sydney Ryan. Ryan has missed time because of an injury and is slated to return soon. In her absence, Powers and Kotwica are continuing to develop in an exciting fashion, according to their coach.

“Savannah has played on another level this season. She has shown signs of consistency and determination. She’s developed into a key contributor for our team, scoring-wise and on the boards,” Wilmus said.

“Lexi is gaining so much confidence, too. We have to keep reminding ourselves, as a coaching staff, that she is still only a sophomore. She is determined to improve each day and make everyone around her better.”

Junior guard Kayla Haile has impressed, gaining praise from Wilmus for consistency in her role as a ball-handler and on defense as she typically takes the responsibility of defending the opponents’ top scorer.

While the Indians’ strengths are continuing to grow, there is one glaring weakness. Once that is rectified, Wilmus said, a major corner will be turned.

“Our weakness is finishing games. Like I mentioned before, we were not able to get over the hump in the second half of some key section games, whether it be a key stop on defense or a basket we need to get in a critical time on offense,” Wilmus said.

“Hopefully we can learn from those experiences and have a better second half of our section schedule.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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