Returners provide strength for Eagles, Pioneers


By Ben Stroup - bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com



Plan on going to see the Delaware Christian girls basketball team play this winter? Get ready to hear the names Fuller, Maurer and Snouffer called … a lot.

The Eagles aren’t particularly deep, or all that experienced, but longtime coach Jackie Boggs said the girls who did log some varsity minutes last season — senior Anna Fuller, junior Hannah Maurer and sophomores Abbi Maurer and Lyssi Snouffer — will be expected to log a whole lot more this time around.

Fortunately for DCS, all four returning letterwinners have looked good in preseason practices and scrimmages.

Of the four, Fuller is the lone returning starter off a team that finished 10-13 overall and 8-4 in the Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League last season.

“Anna will be our point guard,” Boggs said. “I’m looking for strong leadership out of her … and we need her to control the offensive end of the floor.”

The other three will be asked to do a little bit of everything.

“All three will need to play a ton of minutes for us this season, and be able to play both at the post and guard positions,” the coach said. “Abbi could have a great season for us … she has looked good on the offensive end in scrimmages.

“Lyssi will be a lot of opponents’ focus when they play us due to her athleticism, and she has improved from last year. If she handles the constant pressure, she will be tough to stop.

“I’m looking forward to a strong season from Hannah also. She should be strong on both ends of the court, and her knowledge of the game will be valuable to the newcomers on the floor.”

As for those newcomers — players like sophomores Rachel Schneider and Rachel Fisher and freshmen Erin Bauslaugh, Nikki Snedden, Elizabeth Ringley and Lauren Castro — Boggs said they’ll have to develop their defensive skills and handle the ball on the offensive end.

Overall, Boggs likes her group.

“Our strength lies in our four returners,” she said. “All four are strong on both ends, but, without much of a break, they will need to stay healthy and out of foul trouble. Our weakness is a lack of experience and not a deep bench.”

Boggs is hoping the experience issue fixes itself as the season progresses.

“Keys to success will be our rookies learning the offensive and defensive sets quickly and becoming confident in their ability to contribute,” she said. “Staying healthy and out of foul trouble as we attempt to play a bit more aggressive on the defensive end (will also be key).”

Boggs said Granville Christian, Madison Christian and Shekinah Christian, a team the Eagles split a pair of competitive regular-season games with before falling to it 42-33 in their Division IV tourney opener, should provide the most competition in the MOCAL.

OLENTANGY ORANGE

The Pioneers never quite found their form last winter.

They won back-to-back games after starting the year 0-4 and won another two straight after their fifth loss, but were never able to win more than two straight all season long.

Fortunately for Orange, it has three returning starters — McKenna Ford, Aurelia Johnson and Natalie Simpson — back in the fold, determined to improve upon last season’s 7-16 campaign.

“Those three have put a lot of time into improving themselves as players and have been leaders in the offseason and during the preseason,” Orange coach Bob Scott said.

Taylor Myers and Alyssa Feeley, another pair of players with varsity experience, will likely smooth out the squad’s starting five.

“Alyssa brings energy, enthusiasm and hustle and Taylor is strong around the basket,” Scott said.

Others likely to see varsity minutes include Alex Ronk, Maddie Erickson, Anna Grabau and Riley Duffy.

Scott said his team’s top five is more experienced than it was last year, which will come in handy in the always-competitive OCC-Buckeye Division.

“The league is very competitive,” he said. “We must come to play every night. Favorites at this point would have to be Westerville South and Olentangy Liberty.”

Scott said keys to success, against those two teams and all the others on the schedule, are similiar to what they were last year.

“It’s much the same as always,” he said, “play better defense, learn how to finish games, stay healthy and score more points.”

Orange opens the season Nov. 29 against host DeSales before its home opener against Buckeye Valley Dec. 2.

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By Ben Stroup

bstroup@aimmediamidwest.com