The West Lincoln Rebels JV Girls have West Lincoln poised to be a breakout team next season. The team, coached by Rick Rose went 16-3 with an 8-0 Midwest 2A Conference record.
Due to the fact East Rutherford, Shelby and Chase donâ€™t have JV girls teams, West had to play Newton and Bandys four times each. But in no oneâ€™s eyes does the lack of teams take away from what the Rebels accomplished in 2005.
The Rebels had an impressive 64-10 win over Cherryville and also won games 48-8 and 54-21 on the year.
Rose, who spent 14 years as a varsity coach previous to heading up this team, knew the team had a lot of potential.
â€œWhen I saw this group play, I knew if I had the opportunity to coach them we could do some things. Iâ€™m not taking anything away from Coach Boyles. There is just so much talent on that team. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s the coaching, as much as the athletic ability,â€ he said.
Boyles handed over a team rich in athleticism that was also polished. Rose feels the girls just needed to believe more in themselves.
â€œI told the kids at the beginning of the year, there is no reason we couldnâ€™t win the conference. I was tickled to death. A lot of people donâ€™t put a whole lot of stock in JVs, but an undefeated conference schedule should be recognized because they put just as much into it as varsity,â€ he said.
With seven sophomores and five freshmen, a mixture of experience and enthusiasm, Rose implemented something rarely seen on the JV levelâ€”a full court press. The Rebels also showed a penchant for being able to adapt to any defense that was thrown at themâ€¦ man-to-man, zone or the rare box-and-one.
â€œWe were just able to adapt to anything. Bandys gave us a box-and-one and I recognized it and took a timeout. We made some adjustments and it worked. I was so impressed my kids could pick those kind of things up,â€ Rose said, believing his personnel made it possible to make coaching adjustments.
Sophomores Jessie Watts, who averaged 12 points and had a season-high 27, and Holly Hoover who scored at a seven-point clip were the teamâ€™s leaders. Rose believes their impact on the Rebelsâ€™ program has just started.
â€œThey will help the varsity next year. I see them contributing, if not starting on the varsity level. Holly can just read the floor so well and is an exceptional ball handler. Jessie is the best all-around player. You can put her at any position and she can play it. She knows how to go to the basket. She has some moves that are hard to describe,â€ he said.
Freshman center 5â€™7â€ Sarah Norman, averaged eight points per game. Rose believes she also has a bright future. Norman was a major glass-cleaner, being an impact player by ripping down rebounds.
â€œShe came in a little â€˜greenâ€™, but I worked with her and some other kids worked with her and some games if she wasnâ€™t in we wouldnâ€™t have won. Towards the end, she came on strong. She made the difference in quite a few games with her rebounding,â€ Rose said.
Other team members were: Kendell Barrett, Kenzie Elmore, Whitney Sain, Elle Tallent, Haley Hoover, Miranda Sigmon, Kindell Houser, Allison Johnson and Samantha Redwind.
Rose wants to make it clear to the casual observer his girls were a cohesive unit.
â€œEverybody on the team contributed. There wasnâ€™t one individual that didnâ€™t. Some obviously played more than others, but it was definitely a team effort to win the conference.â€
And what does he believe enabled the Rebels to successfully hold off opponents in close ballgames?
â€œMy kids are just a notch above. We got into conference play and there were some pretty close games, but they wanted it more. I really believe that. Thatâ€™s what they wanted from the beginning of the season. They took it on themselves to do everything they could to winâ€”in every close game they never gave up.â€
by John Mark Brooks