Looking around the Bolivar High School auxiliary gym during practice Tuesday, Nov. 10, Lady Liberator basketball coach Ben Glasgow sees a lot of familiar faces.
After starting a mostly young team last year — including at times two freshmen — Bolivar girls basketball will have the advantage of a strong returning class this year.
The Lady Liberators struggled last year, finishing 7-19, but crossed several benchmarks for growth late in the season, including a 61-41 district tournament win over Hillcrest, a team
Bolivar sneaked past 66-65 in overtime earlier in the season.
“We figured some things out late, and now we get to pick up where we left off with the same lineup,” Glasgow says. “That’s a big bonus for us, not having to tinker with things too much.”
The Lady Liberators return a plethora of top athletes, including multi-year starter senior Lexi Berry, and seniors Cara Larimore, Trinity Williamson, Ashton Lynn and Emily Hogan.
Junior McKinley Hedges saw playing time last year, along with sophomores Sidney Batten, Cora Roweton and Dailynn Vanderen.
“Last year, we were able to play several kids, but this year I feel like we’ve actually got a little bit more depth as far as who we can look for and what they can do,” he says.
The Lady Liberators have taken advantage of Williamson’s height and athleticism, he says, and putting her out on the perimeter to handle the ball allows numerous options elsewhere.
“That allows us to play the younger kids in several places,” he says. “I’m most looking forward to implementing some of these younger players.”
And the Lady Liberators’ consistency extends off the court, too.
Glasgow will start his second season at the team’s helm when Bolivar faces off with Stockton at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30.
“Here’s the big difference,” Glasgow says. “For my seniors, I’m the first coach they’ve had two years in a row. That’s the way it goes sometimes, but it can make a big difference.”
He says he’s seen the effects early in practice.
“When we come out and we do drills in practice, I’m not teaching those drills as much as I am implementing,” he says. “We’re scoring in some of these drills at the level we did at the end of last year. That’s a good sign.”
Better also is Bolivar’s ball movement and security, Glasgow says, as the Lady Liberators have started to find their offensive footing.
“We’re getting more ball movement,” he says, “which means we are scoring from more positions on the board, and we’re getting more looks so we’re shooting higher percentages. Those were things we missed last year I think we’ll excel at this year.”