Girl’s basketball season preview

The girl's basketball team looks forward to their upcoming season and embraces a change in coaching staff. The team will open their season with a game against SMS tonight at 7:00.

John Burdette and Kathleen Lutz

Laney Breidenthal, Writer

As the fall season gets colder, the gym gets hotter with the girl’s basketball team. The team will open their season with a game tonight against Shawnee Mission South (SMS) at 7:00 p.m. at SMS.

Along with the new season, the team has a new head coach this year, Brian Bubalo, who is also a math teacher. He has replaced former head coach David Glenn, who moved away last year.

“I was hired back in early May, so this is my first year,” Bubalo said. “I was out of coaching for a year but had the opportunity to teach math and coach basketball here at Blue Valley Northwest. I saw that as a great opportunity to work with good kids, be with a good staff and math department and the coaching staff is fantastic. It was an opportunity I felt like I really needed to take advantage of.”

Senior Lauren Mertz said having a new coach is great for the team and gives the program a fresh start. Mertz said  one of her favorite things about Bubalo is what he says towards the beginning of practice while the team is stretching.

“He’ll always give a little quote or anecdote to get us in the mindset, and I think that’s important and fun for us,” Mertz said. “I think he’s a great guy for the job. He’s really experienced; he knows what he’s doing. We all really respect him and respect what he’s capable of. I’m really excited to see how it goes.”

Although Bubalo does not know a lot about the girls’ basketball team’s history, he knows he is working with a very committed team and is looking forward to the season.

“The girls are very dedicated; they work hard,” Bubalo said. “They’ve got talent and team spirit, so I am very positive and excited about the program and where it is right now. We hope to build a good team and continue the traditions that they already have.”

According to Bubalo, the team’s attitude is very impressive.

“We have great attitudes,” Bubalo said. “I am very impressed with how hard they work, their commitment and their team spirit; they pull for each other.”

Bubalo thinks the team’s skills and size can and will be strengths that will ultimately help them with the season.

“I think we have some good shooters, I think we have some good three-point shooters,” Bubalo said. “We have pretty good size. We have about five girls in the six-foot range, and that’s pretty good for girl’s basketball. I think our size will help us defensively and with rebounding.”

Mertz believes the team’s offense will be an important asset to the achievements they make this season.

“I think our offense is going to be really significant in our success this year because I think it’s really adapting well to the type of players we have,” Mertz said.

Along with their offense, Mertz said that the team has some advantages for the season.

“I think that this year is going to be really significant for us because a lot of other schools have lost a lot of their seniors and their key players, so I think this year is going to be a rebuilding year for a lot of other schools,” Mertz said. “I think we can really advance with that and take advantage of that.”

Bubalo said that in order to prepare for the season, the team has several things they need to improve on, Bubalo said.

“We’ll try to establish a sound man-to-man defensive philosophy and a fast break offensive philosophy,” Bubalo said. “We need to keep working on shooting, passing and recognizing what a good shot is. We need to continue to work on playing with intensity every moment of practice all the time, developing the habit of playing with intensity and just giving a full effort every minute, every drill and not taking breaks. We’re getting better at that every day.”

To improve, Mertz said that the team needs to learn how to play together to better each other.

“I think that these are a bunch of girls who haven’t really played together very much because we lost a lot of seniors, so I think we’ll have to work on really knowing when everybody’s going to be where they are and how to play with each other to our strengths,” Mertz said.

To prepare for the season and the games, Mertz said that the team will evaluate the other teams to discern how to beat their defense.

“We’ll review certain personnel and learn how to defend them well,” Mertz said. “After the game day, we’ll watch the film and learn from what we did, and then after that, it’s just a cycle again.”

Mertz said that the team practices for three hours a day, six days a week, and can be difficult.

“Practices are usually pretty intense right at the beginning,” Mertz said. “Right now we’re really working on putting in plays and offenses. They’re a little more laidback towards the end, but [Bubalo] definitely expects a lot out of us.”

Despite the need for some improvement, Mertz said that she is looking forward to the season.

“I think we’re going to do well,” Mertz said. “I think we have a lot of talented girls, and I think that now that we’re all back healthy and ready to play, we’re going to be really successful this year. I’m excited for it.”