East Hardy Girls Basketball plans to set a new course for success on the hardwood this season navigating toward the postseason guided by a full senior starting lineup.
The Lady Cougars look to improve last year’s record of 10-14 and to take another step past the section semifinals.[private]
Entering her ninth season at the helm, East Hardy coach Bridget Billmeyer has a career record of 76-112 and her assistant coach is Calvin Mongold.
“We will be looking to our experience this year to lead us throughout the season. Brooke [Miller], Julia [Hahn], Leanna [Basye], and Lexi [Strawderman] are all returning starters with Emma Baker filling the last spot.
Billmeyer played in the state tournament as a Lady Cougars player and been there as an assistant coach and has made several regional appearances as a head coach.
East Hardy’s seniors have plenty of postseason experience together in volleyball and softball which helps with the chemistry and the passion to drive.
The Lady Cougars seniors and returning starters are: Brooke Miller, Julia Hahn, Lexi Strawderman, Emma Baker and Leanna Basye.
Brooke Miller was selected to the Class A All-State Honorable Mention group after her performance last season leading the team in points and rebounding with leadership on the floor to get the team moving in the right direction.
Miller’s presence in the paint as a center has been powerful with her ability to box out, contain the rebound and making shots.
Abigail Wilson, honored as one of the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament Most Valuable Players for her role in the Lady Cougars games last year, will not be playing this season which will be an adjustment in the paint without her rebounding and scoring.
Baker has shown great improvement in the post filling in the spot for the Lady Cougars, continuing her strong defensive presence from last season and grabbing rebounds plus drilling shots around the floor.
Basye, a forward/guard has fought through an injury to be on the floor and has been aggressive on defense deflecting passes and driving the ball for a layup, hitting a long range basket or finding an open teammate.
Hahn, a guard, is a tenacious defender stepping in to help Basye on traps, swiping the ball and delivering passes and shots all over the floor.
Strawderman, a guard, will be the primary ball handler executing the offense and providing quick defense along the perimeter.
The issue last season was foul trouble, but the team has a bench full of young talent ready to help.
The Lady Cougars have bench players playing in JV and Varsity games this season: junior Hannah Fogel, sophomores Becka Whetzel, Jaden Fleishman and Chelsea Keller, plus freshmen Tara Jones, Perry Whetzel, Katee Short and Aija Burnette.
East Hardy started the season this past Monday against Class AA Petersburg and visits Class AA Berkeley Springs tonight before hosting Moorefield this Friday.
The Lady Cougars will be participating in the WVHIT this season and have one out-of-state competitor in Southern Garrett.
East Hardy will rely on their seniors to lead the charge down the path this season.
Coach Billmeyer knows how important it is to control the tempo of the game.
“We have to control the tempo of games and make other teams play our style. We need to make good decisions on both ends of the court. Offense: take our time to get good shots. Defense: play smart effective defense without getting into foul trouble,” Coach Billmeyer remarked.
Working on the inside and outside portions of the court will be crucial.
“We have to utilize our inside game, but take and knock down the outside shot in order to keep the inside game open. We have to work hard to control the boards and not give up a ton of second chance shots,” Coach Billmeyer noted.
Experience will be beneficial for the Lady Cougars determined to finish the season stronger.
“The major core of these girls have post season experience in at least some sport. They strive to build on those experiences and will bring that determination and drive to the basketball court. We look forward to a strong year,” Coach Billmeyer concluded.
The last time the Lady Cougars were in the state tournament, Raymond Snapp was the head coach about nine years ago.[/private]