Coach challenges her team to put in extra summer work
The Medical Lake girl’s basketball team will have a homework assignment to finish between now and next November.
“I plan on leaving them with a challenge to get in the gym on their own and improve their basketball skills,” third-year head coach Carey Schwarzer said. That will be the message she offers next Wednesday, Feb. 26 when she bids goodbye to her team that saw their season come to an end Feb. 11 in a 51-35 home loss to Chewelah.
That loss proved to be the difference between the Cardinals’ making the postseason and sitting on the sidelines. With seven consecutive losses to conclude the season, Medical Lake finished 3-9 in Northeast A League play and 5-14 overall.
“We kind of had a roller-coaster ride this season,” Schwarzer said, when looking back at the past few months. “In the preseason we played some of the top teams in the state right off the bat with Northwest Christian being our first game, Okanogan was our third game and throw Brewster in there, too.”
Medical Lake emerged from that stretch 3-3 and Schwarzer said, “I think those games made us tougher.”
Schwarzer pointed to notable wins, Riverside and Newport at home and Chewelah on the road. However, after the Cardinals got that win as the first half of the season ended, the bulk of Medical Lake’s games finished on the road.
“In the second half of the season we just weren’t able to put together four solid quarters of team basketball,” Schwarzer said. “We needed to have maximum effort and play together.”
Schwarzer thought her team got better through the season. “I never expected the girls to play perfect basketball, but we talked about execution, and we got better at it as the season progressed.”
Finishing was the glaring missing piece of the puzzle. “A couple of times we had a solid half, like at Kettle Falls, also at Riverside,” Schwarzer said.
Perhaps the most disappointing outing was Senior Night when Medical Lake and Chewelah entered the fourth quarter tied before the Cards faded badly in the loss. The game broke a three-way tie for the final playoff spot.
“Chewelah did a great job switching up their defense, in the second half they played a 1-2-2 zone which was the same thing Newport did against us,” Schwarzer said. The outside shots were not falling, she said.
Medical Lake bids goodbye to four seniors, Darby Evans, Abigail Morrison, Hailey Cheevers and Emily Bonsant. “We’ll definitely miss our seniors, we had some great leaders, great competitors,” Schwartzer said.
“I’m also excited for the group of returning players,” Schwarzer said. Included is leading scorer, junior Cassidy Hagel and Maleeka Wegner who played significant minutes also as a junior. “We have a group of girls who work very hard, they’re great athletes.” Others who should return include Hannah Hartman, Annette Carlson, Braydn Wegner, Sierra Semrau and Glori Cheevers.
That’s the group Schwarzer encourages to find time in the gym in the offseason. The pieces Schwarzer sees missing are the ball handling and the shooting that’s done in the off-season
“It’s practice you don’t get just playing games or team practices,” she explained. “It’s putting up a lot of shots in the off-season.”
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.