By Marlys Good
“There is a lot of potential on this team,” Coach Sara Schlattmann said as she and her Lady Buffs prepare for the North Big Horn County Invitational tournament in Lovell this weekend.
The Buffs share the B pool with Burlington, Rocky Mountain and Ten Sleep. They will open against Burlington at 3 p.m. Friday.
The A pool includes Lovell, Meeteetse, Riverside and Tongue River. Teams will be seeded into the bracketed tournament Saturday according to wins/losses in their respective pools.
Looking to the opening tournament, and the season, Schlattmann said, “We graduated three seniors who were big contributors to our program and we have lost (incoming senior) Tatem Edeler to an ACL injury, so there are many roles for our girls to fill, not the least of which are leadership roles.”
The 22 athletes on the roster include nine freshmen, but it also includes three talented seniors, Kendall Wright, Kendall Stephens and Avery Howe, to whom Schlattmann will be looking to step up and fill leadership roles. Also returning with varsity experience are Payten Sorensen, Shayla Cheatham, Kylin Stephens and Hannah Klitzke.
“I am excited for some of our younger girls to step up and contribute as well. There is a lot of potential on this team.
“The dynamics of this year’s team are different, but the girls seem to get along. They are a much quieter group on the court; that is one thing we have to certainly improve upon,” Schlattmann said.
After eight days of practice, Coach Schlattmann said, “I believe we are going to need to rely heavily on our passing and serving skills. We won’t necessarily be a big hitting team, so defense, consistency and strong serving are going to be important. That has been our main focus for the first week and a half – as well as just general conditioning.”
Schlattmann said many of the players attended summer camps. “I think that makes a big difference when we start the season. It provides me with a sense of the areas we need to work on and where our strengths might be.”
Schlattmann said both she and the athletes are glad to get the season started. “It will give us a sense of where we are at. The tournament has many of the local teams in it, so it is a good way to kick off the season and be able to adjust our lineup to try different options.”
Buff JV opens in Cowley
The junior varsity portion of the tournament will be played at Rocky Mountain High School in Cowley.
The Buffs, coached by Michaela Williams, have two games on Friday – at 4 p.m. versus Tongue River and at 6 p.m. against Bridger.
Saturday Greybull is scheduled to play Meeteetse at 10 a.m. and then end competition with a second match against Tongue River at noon.