The Buckeye Valley girls basketball team went through some turnover following its first district final appearance in 25 years.
The majority of the team’s scoring graduated in the spring, leaving the Barons with just three players (senior Hannah Cowan and juniors Danielle Grether and Reilly Taylor) that saw full-time action on the varsity level last season for a team that went 19-7 and 10-4 in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference.
“We just have to really work together,” Cowan said. “I think that’s something that we had last year … we clicked really well. This year we just need to find that.”
Add to that a coaching change for the second straight season as Mike Daniels takes over for Travis Stout, who made the move closer to home to Marion Pleasant.
“(Daniels is) a good coach – he knows what he’s talking about,” Cowan said. “It’s good that he’s able to see what we have this year from a brand-new perspective. He’s just starting fresh with us … we’re a fresh new team this year with a fresh new coach.”
Daniels comes to BV from Olentangy, where he went 22-25 in two seasons.
“I like the work-ethic here,” he said. “I know these kids are well-grounded, they work hard and they play for each other. I was – at the time – looking for a boys position. But I couldn’t pass this up – it was just a good opportunity.”
So, it may take some time for things to gel.
Size is the one thing that hasn’t changed for the Barons. Five of the team’s nine players stand 5-foot-10 or taller, including Cowan (5-foot-11), who runs the point.
“I thought coming in when I saw the height and the size that we had – my game plan would have to change,” Daniels said. “I thought we’d have to play a lot of zone and be a little slower. But after we got on the floor they really impressed me with how quickly they move. So, we’re able to get after it … they play hard.”
Daniels is hoping somebody else can step in and play the point to free up Cowan to play off the ball. Daniels hopes that will give Cowan more opportunities to score.
Scoring is a major concern. Cowan, Grether and Taylor are being asked to make the transition from secondary role players to primary scorers.
“Coach Stout did a great job with that group last year,” Daniels said. “But we lost four seniors, 70 percent of our scoring, 50 percent of our rebounding and Hannah is our only returning starter. I think their role is a little different from last year – I need more from them.”
Senior Cami Crawford and sophomores Anika Craft, Chelsea Edington and Mya Elliott all saw varsity time last season as well.
Junior Maddy Fraker and sophomore Paige Garrett join the varsity roster this season.
“It’s a whole lot different than last year,” Cowan said. “We have a whole new starting five. We definitely have to learn how to play with each other and I think that’s where we’re struggling.”
BV opens at home against Linden McKinley in non-league action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.