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Girls varsity basketball prepares for season with one senior

At+girls+basketball+tryouts+on+November+14+the+head+coach%2C+Ted+Juneau+talks+to+the+girls.+This+year+the+varsity+team+only+has+one+senior+player.+%22The+fact+that+they%27re+young+has+nothing+to+do+with+a+lack+of+experience+so+that%27s+the+good+thing%2C%22+Juneau+said.
At girls basketball tryouts on November 14 the head coach, Ted Juneau talks to the girls. This year the varsity team only has one senior player.

At girls basketball tryouts on November 14 the head coach, Ted Juneau talks to the girls. This year the varsity team only has one senior player. "The fact that they're young has nothing to do with a lack of experience so that's the good thing," Juneau said.

Leah Matthews

Leah Matthews

At girls basketball tryouts on November 14 the head coach, Ted Juneau talks to the girls. This year the varsity team only has one senior player. "The fact that they're young has nothing to do with a lack of experience so that's the good thing," Juneau said.

Will Davis, Sports Reporter

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The beginning of a season presents new challenges for every team. It could be a new coach, an athlete not yet sure about their role on the team, or a lack of experience and leadership.

The girls basketball team will begin their season with one senior on the roster, Erin Cushing. For a varsity team, returning one senior could be a red flag for a disappointing season. Second year head coach Ted Juneau is not concerned.

“The fact that they’re young has nothing to do with a lack of experience so that’s the good thing,” Juneau said.

Starting a freshman, two sophomores, a junior, and a senior, Free State will be young but not inexperienced. Returning starters sophomore CK Keston and junior Sam Lawrence clocked many minutes for the Firebirds last year, giving them the experience to fill leadership roles.

Try to be a leader. It’s kind of hard when there’s only one of you,”

— Erin Cushing

“Erin is a good sitting influence for us as a senior, but the [underclassmen]… have the experience,” Juneau said. “So their grade level probably isn’t as important as their experience level.”

At the end of last season the Firebirds were looking at returning four seniors for the 2017-2018 season. Due to injuries, other athletics and a transfer, only Cushing will return as seniors Caroline Patton, Cameryn Thomas, and Jaelyn Two Hearts will all forego their senior season.

Rylee Roberts
Erin Cushing receives a pass during practice. “Realistically we’re not looking at state or like playoffs very much,” Cushing said. “But I’m here just to make the kids better and maybe get some wisdom into them.”

Cushing admits the responsibilities that come with being a team leader can be challenging.

“Try to be a leader. It’s kind of hard when there’s only one of you,” Cushing said. “Last year we had a couple people to look up to but it’s just me now. I’m trying to be a good role model and teach the kids everything I can.”

If the Firebirds make run a this season coach Juneau knows his team will lean on Cushing for leadership down the stretch.

“The thing that any good senior does is bring to the team a steadiness, leadership, a history of what’s gone on before, and she does a good job of that,” Juneau said. “Erin [shows leadership] in a very quiet way, she’s not by nature a real vocal person. Her leadership is by example and that’s a good thing about her.”

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Girls varsity basketball prepares for season with one senior