Argos girls basketball preview: More familiar Jennings seeks better start for Lady Dragons
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Argos girls basketball team started last season 0-7 but went 9-4 the rest of the season.
But a season of fits and starts ended with an overtime loss to Triton in the Class 1A, Sectional 50 final. Of the 11 losses, only one of them came against a team that finished with a losing record.
Coach Scott Jennings said the relationship between him and his players has improved since the start of last season. The team has also been able to put in a summer of work, which included a game against the Argos alumni in July and games against larger school teams like LaPorte, Tippecanoe Valley and Peru.
(quote from Jennings)
Lizzy Edmonds, a Holy Cross College signee and a 6-0 post player, is the top returning scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Jennings also hopes Edmonds blossoms as a leader after the graduations of Madi VanDerWeele, who now plays at Manchester University, and Sydney Shepherd.
“Liz, she’s our leader,” Jennings said. “We rely on her for so much, and she’s so skilled as far as being able to shoot the ball, being able to handle the ball, rebound, play defense. She just can do it all for us. She just leads by example every night in practice. She just goes as hard as she can. Trying to get a little bit more vocal leadership from her is my challenge. So she’s a little bit quiet. And all my seniors are that way. That’s probably my biggest challenge with this group is developing leadership, that and just talking on the floor a little bit more.”
Sophie Bollenbacher, Carleigh Miller and Allison Zahm, who is back after missing last season with a hip injury, will give Argos a core of four seniors, but it might be 5-9 juniors Emma Dunlap and Bella Stults who could take the biggest leap as players.
“Bella’s probably maybe a little bit stronger than Emma, but they’ve both got some height to them and can do some things,” Jennings said. “Those two, from the end of last year through the summer to where they’re at right now, it’s 100 percent improvement. They’re getting the confidence that they need. They’re starting to play more like seniors even. And I’m seeing both of them really start to excel here in practice. They’re figuring out they can score some buckets and can do some things.”
The third leading returning scorer after Edmonds and Dunlap is sophomore guard Samantha Redinger.
“She’s just one of those girls (where) we can put her on the best offensive player,” Jennings said of Redinger. “She can play some serious defense. We can count on her to score some buckets. I saw that late in the season last year, just a great little left-handed shot. She can pull up and shoot it. She can drive to the basket. We’re expecting a lot from her this year. I’ve told her already she needs to step up and play like a senior this year even though she’s only a sophomore.”
Argos will play eight games before Thanksgiving. That slate includes a rematch on the road with Triton, a trip to defending 2A regional champion North Judson and conference games against Bethany Christian and Trinity Greenlawn.
“We’ve got a lot of defensive threats,” Jennings said. “We’ve got a lot of offensive threats. I don’t want to throw it out there too much, but I think we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with a little bit. I think we’re going to be very competitive.”
Jennings said junior Amanda Fajardo suffered an ankle injury in practice this week, and Jennings hopes to have her back for the Triton game on Nov. 9. Look for her to back up Edmonds and Stults in the frontcourt.
ARGOS LADY DRAGONS SCHEDULE (JV/VARSITY)
Nov. 4 – vs. Caston, 6 p.m./7 p.m. (JV one half only)
Nov. 6 – vs. Bethany Christian, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 – at Triton, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Nov. 12 – vs. Winamac, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 – at North Judson, 6:30 p.m./8 p.m.
Nov. 19 – at Trinity Greenlawn, 6 p.m. (varsity only)
Nov. 20 – at Jimtown, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 – vs. Culver, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 – vs. Morgan Township, 6:30 p.m./8 p.m.
Dec. 9 – at Rochester, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 – at Culver Academy, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Dec. 16 – at South Bend Career Academy, 6 p.m. (varsity only)
Dec. 18 – vs. Elkhart Christian, 3 p.m./4:30 p.m.
Dec. 21 – at New Prairie, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Jan. 6 – at North Miami, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 – vs. Lakeland Christian, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 – vs. Oregon-Davis, 6:30 p.m. (varsity only)
Jan. 15 – vs. Pioneer, 1 p.m./2:30 p.m.
Jan. 18-22 – Bi-County Tournament (field includes Bremen, Culver, John Glenn, LaVille, New Prairie, Oregon-Davis, Triton)
Jan. 27 – at LaVille, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 – vs. Westville, 6:30 p.m./8 p.m.
Feb. 1-5 – Class 1A, Sectional 50 at Culver
CLASS 1A, SECTIONAL 50
Argos, Culver, LaCrosse, Oregon-Davis, Trinity Greenlawn, Triton, West Central