Ben Glasgow wants his team to be strong in the fundamentals of basketball.
The first-year Lady Liberators coach said he spends the first half of every practice just breaking down the game, focusing on its mechanics, all in an effort to build a cool, collected team that plays the sport cleanly.
“We really try to set the tone with that,” he said.
Glasgow’s first regular season with the team starts Thursday, Dec. 5, as the Lady Liberators open play at the Branson Tournament. The tournament runs through Saturday, Dec. 7.
Glasgow was previously the head coach at Licking, where he’d been since 2009, according to previous BH-FP coverage.
He replaces Ryan Madison, who spent a season at Bolivar before departing for a job in Jefferson City.
Under Madison, last year’s squad finished the season 14-12, exiting end of season playoffs after a loss to district champion Nevada.
Senior playmakers Rheagan Hancock and Hannah Newcomb have since graduated. Hancock now plays soccer at Southwest Baptist University, while Newcomb is on the basketball court for Missouri Valley College.
“They were two of the top three scorers, rebounders and defenders,” he said.
This year’s squad sees three starters return — juniors Lexi Berry and Trinity Williamson and senior Sarah Green.
Berry, the third member of last year’s top trio, is a multisport athlete with experience in both tennis and soccer.
“She’s solid handling the basketball,” Glasgow said.
Meanwhile, Green moves fast and works hard, he said.
“Her motor never stops running,” he said. “That’s huge for us. She brings a lot of that consistency that I want. She’s always working hard on both ends of the court.”
Williamson, standing at 5-foot-11-inches, brings significant athleticism and height to the program.
“The sky is the limit for Trinity as she continues to get better,” he said.
Glasgow said upperclassmen Emma Henderson and Cara Larimore also likely have spots in the starting lineup.
Larimore, who also plays soccer, joined the team after featuring on the swim team last winter, Glasgow said.
“She’s worked really hard,” he said. “She’s really coachable, and that’s earned her a starting spot.”
McKinley Hedges and Ashton Lynn will also likely see playing time, along with freshman Cora Roweton, who is fresh off a starting spot on the Lady Liberators varsity volleyball squad.
“(Roweton) has the height, and I could see her getting tons of minutes,” Glasgow said.
Overall, Glasgow said the team’s been incredibly receptive as he’s worked to implement his system. The Lady Liberators played strong defense last year, and he said he’s worked to optimize their offense to match pace.
“It’s getting better, but it’s still a process,” he said, “but these kids are smart, and they’re really good kids.”