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  • Val T.

Caston girls basketball preview: Douglass hopes for better shooting

Also wants players to dream of playing regional at home


Sports Editor, RTC

The Caston girls basketball team has not won a sectional title since 1985.

Caston is the traditional home site for a Class 1A regional, and second-year coach Josh Douglass would like his team to at least dream about the possibility.

“We’ve talked about it,” Douglass said. “I said our goal is to take that next step this year and win that sectional. I truly believe we can, but everybody's got to buy into their role and accept their role for the team to be successful. I don’t even know that it’s dawned on them that they would get to play at home in the regional. To me, it would be really cool because I graduated from Caston and to play in your home school in a regional, that’s an atmosphere that these kids don’t even know about yet.”

Douglass has emphasized shooting this year. Caston went 13-1 last year when they scored 40 or more points but only 2-6 when they did not.

They closed the season by scoring 32 points against LaVille; 37 against Carroll (Flora), a top 10 team in Class 2A; and 32 against eventual Class 1A state champions Pioneer in the sectional.

“Point of emphasis all summer was being able to put the ball in the hoop,” Douglass said. “I challenged the girls to shoot 10,000 shots in 8 to 10 weeks over the summer. They had to shoot them and report back to me, all honor system. Hopefully, it paid off.

“Against Valley in our scrimmage, we looked really strong. I think we were 9 of 20 from 3(-point range), and we made 22 baskets overall, and we had 19 assists on those 22 made baskets. At first, I was a little nervous because the first quarter, we only scored four points. But after that, our nerves settled down and things like that. We relaxed and moved the ball, and we saw some shots go in, and you could see girls getting more and more confident.”

Isabel Scales and Addison Zimpleman form a sophomore guard duo. They helped the Lady Comets improve from five wins two years ago to 15 wins last year.

“Her floor vision is tremendously improved,” Douglass said of Scales. “This summer, that was the first thing I noticed with her. She was throwing passes that she wouldn’t have even thought about throwing before and completing them. … She was throwing a lot tighter passes and taking more risks with those passes and obviously completing them.”

The graduations of Jordan Clingler and Layne Oliver could take away from the Caston frontcourt, but players like Bailey Harness, Maddi Smith and Brianna Yarber could increase their production to make up for the losses.

Douglass called Yarber a “great role player” who can handle the ball and be a top defender and could even be capable of scoring 10 to 12 points a game.

Abby Williamson could spend more time in the post as opposed to beyond the 3-point line “as long as she plays within herself,” Douglass said. She will provide length and athleticism.

Harness has stood out with her improvement, according to Douglass.

“You will see a big, tremendous leap from her, I believe,” Douglass said of Harness. “She worked really hard this summer at getting her shot quicker and more accurate, and it’s really shown. She’s another one now that can stretch the floor tremendously.”

Douglass has said that Smith’s self-determination will have an impact on what season she might have on the wing.

“I told her that she could have a huge senior year,” Douglass said. “It’s up to her. She’s defensively very solid. She’s so athletic, so quick. If she can hit her layups in a game, knock those down consistently, she can average 15 to 20 points a game. She can get to the bucket. … She’s just got to have the confidence in herself.”

Douglass also said that junior guard Kinzie Mollenkopf will help with the “dirty work” and that Alexa Finke, Macee Hinderlider and Annie Harsh are three sophomores who could see increased roles.

Caston added games with Clinton Central and Bremen to their schedule. Clinton Central is coached by former Caston coach Don Helmick.


Nov. 4 – at Argos, 6 p.m./7 p.m. (only a JV half)

Nov. 6 – vs. Rochester, 6 p.m/7:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 – vs. Peru, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Nov. 12 – at North White, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Nov. 13 – at Winamac, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Nov. 16 – vs. Rossville, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Nov. 22 – at Frontier, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Dec. 1-4 – Cass County Invitational at Logansport (field includes Lewis Cass, Logansport, Pioneer)

Dec. 9 – vs. North Judson, 6:30 p.m./8 p.m.

Dec. 11 – at Triton, 1 p.m./2:30 p.m.

Dec. 14 – at Pioneer, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Dec. 16 – at Knox, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Dec. 28-29 – Miami County Invitational (field includes North Miami, Peru, Maconaquah)

Jan. 4 – vs. Clinton Central, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Jan. 6 – at Culver, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Jan. 8 – vs. LaVille, 1 p.m./2:30 p.m.

Jan. 13 – vs. West Central, 6 p.m/7:30 p.m.

Jan. 15 – vs. Tri-County, 11 a.m./12:30 p.m.

Jan. 20 – vs. North Miami, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 – vs. Carroll (Flora), 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Jan. 27 – at Bremen, 6 p.m./7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1-5 – Class 1A, Sectional 52 at North White


Caston, Frontier, North White, South Newton, Tri-County

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