Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
The Blair Oaks girls basketball team fell 28-6 in a 12-minute scrimmage against Helias in Friday’s Jamboree.
But first-year coach Kevin Kohler isn’t anticipating a repeat performance at 6 p.m. today when the Lady Falcons return to Helias for their season opener.
“We (had) a couple players that are out of town. I think that’ll help us the next time we come,” Kohler said after the Jamboree. “Those two players won’t turn the game completely around. We’re going to have to execute and do the things that we do and do them well.”
Kohler said it helps that the Lady Falcons were able to get a first glance at the Lady Crusaders before the season began, though he knows most coaches were keeping the playbook vanilla.
“You don’t want to show anybody too much the first night,” he said. “So everybody’s kind of laid back really, and I think we’ll heat it up Tuesday night, and you’ll see a lot more out of all the teams.”
With the Blair Oaks football team in a state semifinal Saturday, the Lady Falcons just had one practice to adjust during the weekend.
“(We’ll) try to really focus on trying to execute offensively and rebound,” Kohler said Friday. “We know we can rebound better and execute our defenses. We know we can do better.”
The Lady Falcons are replacing four starting seniors in Lauren Viessman, Chelsi Emerson, Robyn Schroeder and Veronica Wiebold from last year’s team, which went 11-14 and lost in the first round of districts.
This year’s team will be paced by Kellie Fredenall (5-11, jr.) and Macyn Wilbers (6-0, jr.), who Kohler called “one of our top dogs.” Fredenall was injured Friday and is coming off ankle surgery.
Kallie Kerperin, a 5-foot-5 guard, is the team’s lone senior. Also returning from last year’s varsity squad are Sydney Wilde (5-7, so.) and Cassidy Prenger (5-10, jr.).
“We have a good group of juniors and a strong freshman class,” Kohler said. “… There’s five or seven players probably that could score in double figures any night, if they just get in and play and do what they’re supposed to do. They’ll be all right.”
Two of those freshmen saw significant action in Friday’s Jamboree. Makenna Kliethermes racked up eight points during the three scrimmages and appeared comfortable shooting from deep range.
“I’d call her a scorer,” Kohler said. “She’ll be able to score from anywhere. She can. She’s a good player.”
Freshman Kayla Jones logged time Friday as well, substituting for an out-of-town point guard. Jones could potentially see the floor in her first year, too.
“We’ll just have to see how that shakes out,” he said.
Kohler, who replaces Leroy Bernskoetter as the Lady Falcons’ coach, was hired in October, giving the team a bit of a late jump on the season.
“I would’ve loved to have had a summer to spend with them and kind of go through the whole system,” Kohler said. “So we’re just taking baby steps and just doing a few things. It may be next year before we have the whole system in place.
“We’re working at it, and we’ve got a good bunch of girls that are very eager to learn, and they work hard, so I’m not concerned at this point. I think we’ll be all right.”
Kohler, who previously coached at California and Jamestown, is keeping his goals simple in his first season at Blair Oaks.
“Your goal is always to win as many as you can, so I don’t have any number on that,” he said. “We’re just going to try to come out and compete every night out and do the best we can to be as good as we can.”