Archive for Monday, November 19, 2012

SM North boys, girls teams vary in experience

November 19, 2012, 9:12 a.m.

Updated: November 20, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Plenty of new faces are going to have a chance to star for the Indians boys basketball team this season. Shawnee Mission North is young, and sixth-year head coach B.J. Hair thinks this group is poised to better last season’s 4-17 squad.

Left-handed guard Damien Putman and 6-foot-4 forward Scott Johnson will see increased roles from last season after the team lost three players to transfer, along with a bulk of the scoring.

The situation is ripe for an unknown to emerge, and that might come from Italian exchange student Vittorio Masina. The senior has a twin brother who is attending Shawnee Mission Northwest, but both can play basketball, as Hair has seen during AAU tournaments.

“They’re pretty similar players,” he said. “I would have liked to have both of them.”

The Indians enter this season with unproven talent but hopeful, if not for this year, then for the near future. It’s a matter of patience.

“I anticipate that we’ll really see the growth in February more than we will in the beginning,” Hair said.

The boys basketball team starts the season Nov. 30 at home against Derrick Thomas Academy.

Girls team heavy on returners

Seventh-year head coach Kelly Dennis has the luxury of returning all of her players from last year.

Since there were no seniors on that team, this group is going to pick up from its 7-14 season and hope experience will improve it.

“We feel like we’re going to be more successful than we were last year, for sure,” Dennis said. “We don’t talk about wins and losses a whole lot; we talk about playing well and controlling the things we can control.”

Senior Cassie Ledgerwood, the tallest player on the team, is questionable to return after sustaining a knee injury this summer, already giving the Indians a tough spot to fill. Senior India Johnson and junior Darian Dozier look to be vocal leaders, as will seniors Courtney Hughes, Shayna Thomas and Adriana Cruz. It’s easy to control effort rather than the record, Dennis said, but this team has been together for a while and should find itself closer to .500.

“This group doesn’t really settle,” Dennis said.

The Indians tip off Nov. 29 at Shawnee Mission South.

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