Lady Eagles expect to be much better than 2016 squad

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

The record may not have been what the Marion girls basketball team had wanted last year, but their effort sure was. The Lady Eagles and their second year head coach Matt LaGrow are hoping that hard work pays off into some wins this winter.

“I had a great group of kids that worked extremely hard last year,” LaGrow said. “Through all the tough losses, these girls continued to put in the effort every game. We are still learning how to play at the speed of the varsity game.

“I think our offense is ahead of our defense at this time, which is odd,” he added. “We are still a work in progress in understanding that effort and attitude are really the only things we can truly control come game time. We have more basketball skills, which should give us options but defense is something we need to improve on quickly if we are going to have any success in the win-loss column come game day.”

Returning from last year’s team that went 0-20 will be senior Lena Hall (forward) and juniors Tashawa Switalski (guard) and Kaitlin Booms (guard).

Back row left to right: Aspen LaGrow, Lexi Salisbury, Isabelle Bontekoe, Lena Hall, Chloe Philo. Middle: Hayle Switalski. Front: Tashawa Switalski, Katlin Booms. (not pictured Elaina Chavira).

Back row left to right: Aspen LaGrow, Lexi Salisbury, Isabelle Bontekoe, Lena Hall, Chloe Philo. Middle: Hayle Switalski. Front: Tashawa Switalski, Katlin Booms. (not pictured Elaina Chavira).

“Hall will be our post presence and Switalski and Booms both have improved greatly on their court awareness and decision making and will be called on to do a lot for us offensively and defensively,” LaGrow said.

New to the team are juniors Elaina Chavira (forward) and Joanne Smith (forward), sophomores Isabelle Bontekoe (forward), Lexi Salisbury (guard) and Aspen LaGrow (guard). Freshmen Chloe Philo and Hayle Switalski also join the team.

“We have had a couple of scrimmages, where I thought we did some really nice things but practices have been difficult because we do not have a lot of depth this year,” LaGrow said. “A lot of our learning will take place in games and scrimmages as we struggle in numbers to scrimmage during practice time.”

With his roster still finding its legs, LaGrow knows it may take awhile for floor leaders to step up as well.

“Leadership is something that has to be learned and earned, it cannot be faked,” he said. “These ladies have shown leadership already, by taking ownership in the basketball program and competing for one another. My hope is that all of our girls become stronger leaders throughout the year. This will be a different process for each individual.”

Marion will be playing as an independent this season. The Eagles hosted the Grand Traverse Academy on Wednesday for its season opener, hosts Harrison on Monday and hosts Baldwin on Wednesday.

“We are young and inexperienced but if we can show growth everyday, I will be happy and so should the girls,” LaGrow said. “So far we are achieving that. We want to play as a family, have fun and improve every day. I think those are great goals.”




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