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Lady Lions shaping up nicely

LAMOILLE — First-year head coach Dick Gross has spent the opening two weeks of practice of the 2012-13 basketball season with the LaMoille/Ohio Lady Lions, implementing his program and coaching philosophies.

The first item of business has been to get the girls into shape for the new season, which tips off Monday at the Princeton Holiday Tournament.

“Conditioning was the big thing I wanted to focus on because usually in years past, we weren’t in very good shape. We did drills, and we ran but seemed like about the third quarter, they ran out of gas,” Gross said. “That’s been the focus, doing the drills, running, more drills. I think we just introduced our plays (Wednesday).”

Another point of focus is getting the players to believe in themselves, he said.

“When they get on the court, we don’t want them to back down from anybody, no matter who it is,” Gross said.

The Lady Lions line up with four seniors, two juniors to go with a cast of eight sophomores who Gross anticipates seeing a lot of varsity action.

Seniors Brittany Chasteen and Stefanie Ridge return as starters along with junior Shiela Browning, an athletic guard/forward who gained All-Conference honors in volleyball. Gross said he is looking for big things from Browning, the returning leading scorer in the area (11.3 ppg), who he says can “handle the ball and score strong.”

Junior Myrah Graham and sophomores Alyssa Schrader, Elizabeth Geuther (6-0 C) and Toni Lawrence (6-0 F), all of whom saw varsity time a year ago with seniors Mary Pinter and Missy Dunn, will also be pushing for starting positions, though Gross anticipates using a deep bench.

The remaining varsity roster tilts heavily to the sophomore class with Kaitlyn Hughes, Amanda Chasteen, Erin Bennett, Emily Fahs and Ragen Forbes.

“With their speed and quickness, these sophomores can help our program, and that’s what we’re counting on,” said Gross, noting it will be a learning experience for them.

With better conditioning, Gross plans to utilize an uptempo game, saying “We want to push it every time we can.”

“I think we’re going to do pretty good this year. We’re quick; we’ve got some height; we’ve got some experience,” Gross said. “We’ll be in shape, and we should be ready for the Princeton Tournament. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gross said the Lady Lions should benefit from having a new summer program and summer camp.

Emily Leffelman assumed Gross’ position as F/S coach, moving up from LaMoille Allen Grade School.

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