JAY DAVIS: Tiger basketball teams have been through this before
Those of you who made the road trip on Saturday and hit the gym at home last night saw that the Lady Tigers are in the early stages of what is going to be a couple rebuilding years.
When you have to put girls on the court who aren’t even old enough to drive after dark, there will be some tough nights. With nine of the 11 Lady Tigers that young (four sophomores, five freshmen) those night will come more often than not. The Aberdeen Roncalli game was a good case in point. The Cavaliers started five seniors. The age gap was simply too much.
We’ve been through this kind of a transition state in the recent past in Lady Tigers and Tigers basketball, so channel your memory banks and remember that we have some talented young girls out there. As they grow to become young women they will improve, and maybe get pretty darn good.
Back in the 2000-01 season, retired coach Jim Schlekeway was forced to make a decision and go with three freshmen. You’ll remember he sent Adam Quashnick, Derek Dietterle and Jaden Hanson into the fire. Things did not go so well for a while as the team won just five games that year and four the next. They got better and won eight games the next year. When the threesome were seniors, they capped their careers by winning the consolation championship at the State A tournament in 2004.
You remember when the girls took second in state in 2006? Well, the next year retired coach Byron Utter stuck eighth-graders Maddie Frederick and Erin Rabenberg into the lineup. Were there struggles? You bet your sweet bippy there were! The struggles were immense as the girls won just three games that year and just five the next. Coach Katie Konold took over the next year and upped the win total to six. By the time the girls were juniors they qualified for state and finished eighth. Of course you remember what happened their senior year. Frederick and Rabenberg led the Lady Tigers to a 22-4 record and a consolation championship at the State A tournament of their own.
We are at that threshold again. The team will grow up before our very eyes. Time will fly and soon we’ll be talking about finding rooms at the State A tournament again.