Injuries and illness let to many different starting lineups last season for Goessel’s girls basketball. Eight girls who started games are returning for the 2021-22 season.
All in all, the Bluebirds have 18 athletes hoping tough practices help them improve on a 6-15 record, 2-7 in Wheat State League games.
The Bluebirds will lack height but will expect smart play in better rebound positions and limiting opponents to one shot per possession.
Kaleigh Guhr, a 5-foot-3 senior, will lead the Bluebirds at the point. She has the ability to connect from long range and pass to open teammates.
Lyna Lehrman, a 5-6 senior, led the team last year with 5.5 rebounds and 6.0 points per game.
Rachael Zogleman, a 5-7 senior, picked up 4.8 rebounds and will be a threat close to the basket.
Emily Flaming, a 5-7 senior, led the team last season by hitting 36% of her shots and being a force rebounding.
Sarah Spurlin, a scrappy 5-6 junior, will be a threat rebounding.
Jaicee Griffin, a 5-8 sophomore, is expected to contribute from the post.
Braylyn Hoopes, a 5-5 sophomore guard, will contribute defensively and build on her experience from last season.
Cheyenne Sawyer, a 5-5 sophomore guard, will use her quickness to get open. She led the team last year shooting 38% from three-point range.
Expectations are for Riley Graber to contribute this year as a 5-7 junior guard. She missed the season last year because of injury.
“These girls have worked very hard over the summer, and we have eight or nine girls that have a lot of experience playing together. That should help us start out strong,” Ryan Hoopes said.
Kaleigh Guhr said everyone on the team will have to score more.
But Lyna Lehrman added: “We have a good chance of accomplishing that, because we are not depending on one player to lead. It will have to be all of us.”
To Emily Flaming, the key is team defense, leading to steals.
“Other teams may have 6-foot post players, but we should be competitive with our speed and athleticism,” Rachael Zogleman said. Some freshman athletes are expected to compete for varsity positions.
Goessel’s first game will be Friday at Marion. The Bluebirds will be hosts for a tournament next week with games on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.