THE PLAINS — Silent swishes and squeaky shoes. She jukes left and dribbles right, a screen is set, a bounce pass and a crossover, swish, three points.
The Athens Lady Bulldogs head coach Phil Koska and his players have high hopes for their oncoming varsity basketball season.
“Not only am I excited for myself, but I’m also excited for my girls, they’re all coming together,” Koska said.
For their season to be successful — the Lady Bulldogs have to want to be there — not only physically but mentally. And, they have to stay healthy and be competitive.
Senior Kesi Federspiel is fun, energetic, vocal, a hard player — willing to give anything and everything to the game she loves. Her poise on and off the court allows her to always be herself. Pressured-filled situations do not faze her.
Across the court, senior Harper Bennett is excited and shows her awareness. Koska said Bennett is “an excellent defender” and wants to show up at practice.
Senior Baily Cordray-Davis, the “silent sniper,” according to Koska, is quiet but can make her shots and has come a long way.
Senior Haylie Mills is “the boss of the floor.” With an unwavering awareness on the court, she understands that the game is not just about her getting the ball through the net; the game is more than just scoring individually.
Senior Kiana Benton is willing to do anything the team needs. She plays hard and is determined to learn. Her twin sister, Annika, is “very sneaky” with many technical moves and excellent three-pointers. Her skill and hustle are what keeps her not only a step ahead of her opponents.
Junior Emily Zuber is coming into her own.
“She’s finally figured out that she’s tall,” Koska said.
Zuber acts as a floor general by showing her voice. In difficult moments, her character and pride allow her to focus on the next right thing.
Junior Annie Moulton is the fun, rambunctious player who tries hard and “has come such a long way in the matter of a year,” according to Koska.
Her motor allows her to coast through the game and around the court.
Freshman Asa Holcombe is an incredible shooter — determined and harder on herself than a coach will ever be. One of the things she can control is her attitude, which shines even in the toughest of times.
Injuries have constantly followed Pamala Alier but she doesn’t let them keep her off the court or lessen her spirits. Freshman Emma Molde is a hard worker who is “deceivingly long.” She enjoys basketball and shows that through her consistency. Her intensity on and off the court shows determination and concentration. Freshman Maeve Schwarzel is the “bulldog of the group”, even as a freshman she’s not afraid to make mistakes and won’t deny that it happened.
Bennet said Koska is “standardized, fundamental, and the best communicator I’ve ever witnessed.”
She added, “The more chemistry we have (as a team), the more games we should win.”
The Lady Bulldogs open up their season on Wednesday, Nov. 24 in the Athens High School Gym against Ironton. Junior varsity starts at 6 p.m. with varsity following. Tickets can be purchased at the doors for $5. Athens High School students get in free with their student ID.
Addi Wright is a student journalist with Tri-County Career Center’s Sports Journalism and New Media program.