The Manchester girls’ basketball team took to the court for their first scrimmage of the preseason as they took on the Green Bobcats on Monday evening, Nov. 9.
Fans witnessed newly-appointed Head Coach Jacie Simon’s varsity squad play at a furious pace the entire scrimmage as her squad tried to steal and push the ball towards the hoop as quickly as possible without relenting. Simon said you can expect that from her team the entirety of this season.
“I think with this group we really can get up and down fast,” Simon said. “It’s more fun for them to get that transition game in and we don’t have a lot of height, it’s no hidden secret, so we’re just going to utilize our legs, get in shape and move it up and down. I was pleased with what I saw tonight out of it.”
The scrimmage came after only three total practices. That, along with a new coach in Simon, provides a learning curve from multiple perspectives. But Simon said she thought the scrimmage went well considering how early into the preseason the team is.
“It’s been a last-minute transition for them so we’re learning each other, they’re learning me and I’m learning them,” Simon said. “I was pleased with how things went with three solid practices under our belts. I was pleased to see how they moved the ball and how we moved down the court because we don’t have basketball legs yet.”
The varsity squad won their first quarter 15-2 and their second quarter 17-7 as senior Morgan Johnson played point guard at times, making numerous accurate passes through defenders to lead her teammates to layups.
“She has talent,” Simon said. “She finds a way to lay it off the glass beautifully. She also is very good at finding her open teammates and I really want to push her on that as far as creating that move that will open up one of her teammates to get an even better shot.”
Midway through the second scrimmage, senior Summer Wilbur went down with a knee injury. Wilbur has been battling knee issues since the summer and came out midway through the second quarter of play. Wilbur returned to start the third stanza, but was limited to a zone position on defense as mobility was an obvious issue. An MRI is scheduled for this weekend to discover the extent of the injury.
“She has some scar-tissue becoming irritated which is good because it’s breaking away but she has those moments where it really bothers her because it’s popping and scar-tissue is moving around,” Simon said. “We’re going to do some things during practice to get her knee stronger so I don’t anticipate that to be much of an issue through the course of the year.”
Simon said she wants to focus on defense as the team continues through the preseason saying her team needs to learn how to force turnovers without committing fouls so as to avoid foul trouble while also fitting into their up-tempo style.
“We have not had enough time to go through our defense by any means,” Simon said. “Defense and applying pressure in a smart fashion is what we’re going to work on. We were scrappy tonight but we weren’t smart with the scrappiness.”
The Manchester girls team will open up the regular season on the road at the Paint Valley Classic on Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. and will open up their home regular season schedule on Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. when Eastern Brown visits in a Southern Hills Athletic Conference contest.
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.