A youth movement is underway at West Geauga where the Wolverines return just one starter and will have two freshmen in the projected starting lineup.
Yet, third-year head coach Brandon Stewart remains optimistic his program will compete for a Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division title.
“We have a young and exciting group,” Stewart said. “With Maggie Furst returning to the starting lineup and the experience she has gained the last two years, she will be invaluable to us. Our freshman class is working hard and getting better every day. The excitement and energy level of everyone has been great to see to start the year.”
With just one returning starter and several young players in the lineup, Stewart knows his squad will experience its highs and lows this season.
The key for the Wolverines will be to quickly acclimate to the speed of the varsity game and to play consistently as the season progresses.
“Our youth will be both a good and bad thing for us this year,” Stewart said. “As they develop and learn to play at the varsity level, the more success we will have as a group. They continue to work hard and learn more and more each day.”
Despite their youth, the Wolverines aren’t short on talent and will use their overall team speed to their advantage.
“We will be very athletic and have a lot of team speed,” Stewart said. “I think it will help us both offensively and defensively to switch things up on teams to keep giving different looks. Our goal is to score in transition first and let our defense lead to our offense.”
Furst is West Geauga’s lone returning starter and the most experienced player on the roster.
The 6-foot forward/post also is one of the top players in the area. She averaged nine points and 10 rebounds per game last winter in earning first-team all-conference, second-team all-district, and honorable mention All-Ohio honors.
“Maggie is a force for us both on offense and defense in the paint and as a rim protector,” Stewart said. “Her ability to alter shots defensively and secure rebounds to start our transition will be big for us. She is a strong finisher from both sides around the rim and has been developing a mid-range game this off-season.”
Senior post Hannah Williams, sophomore guard Callie Kormos, and freshmen guards Faelynn Beckrest and Elsa Henderson round out the projected starting lineup.
Providing depth for the Wolverines are freshmen guards Ava Borz and Sammy Paskowski and freshman post Amelia Zaffiro.
Stewart is focused on putting his players in the best position to find success.
He’s looking for each player to continue to work hard, find her own comfort level on the court, and do her part to help the team jell.
“Our goal this season is to get better every single day,” he said. “We want to create a culture that people want to be a part of and enjoy playing and learning the game of basketball. We want our players to come to practice every day and give maximum effort and work hard. If we are able to do those things, the rest will take care of themselves.”
To achieve their goals, the Wolverines will focus on defense.
“A commitment to the defensive end of the floor is going to be a huge key for us early in the season,” Stewart said. “Our effort on that end of the floor will go a long way in helping us while we figure out our half-court offense.”