“Injuries are crippling us right now,” said coach Randy Martin after the game. “We lost Annabelle Garrett for the season with a torn MCL. Hannah Owen is on her third game she missed. I think she’s going to miss at least two more. When you take out 40 percent of your starting lineup, you’re going to struggle, but to the girls’ credit tonight, they fought, they competed, they didn’t give up. Right to the end, they competed and that’s all I can ask for.”
The Lady Devils have had a few setbacks recently, but seniors Josie Camps, Mercedes Zunich and Veda Gritts are not about to roll over. Here’s what Gritts had to say about her role as a leader and a mentor to underclassmen.
“During practice, we try to work with everybody and we try to show them what we know, because next year they will be the varsity team,” Gritts said.
Martin highlighted the play of Thanutchaya Tresirikasem, a junior exchange student from Thailand, in explaining his approach to coaching. “Our job as coaches is to learn what each player’s strengths are and what their weaknesses are. Thanutchaya, number 10, she brings a high level of energy to the court ... we put her out there and with her high energy and knack for getting the ball, for tipping the ball away, that’s her strength. She’s really not a scorer, we don’t look for her to score because we have Veda and Josie and Mercedes who can score for us. She does have a way with her speed and quickness of getting to the ball and that’s what we look for her to do,” Martin said.
Due to injuries, the coach expects underclassmen to step up to the challenge, perhaps a little earlier than expected. Freshman Tenney Cook and sophomore Emree Olsen have answered the call and are current starters. Cook and Olsen, perhaps because of youthful exuberance, are slightly impulsive and impatient on offense, but it is more than apparent they are learning. Gritts, Zunich, and Camps have taught Cook and Olsen to slow things down a bit.
“Part of our thinking in substituting number 20 Tenney Cook and Madison Munger, number 25, they are the future of the team, so we are trying to give them experience this year so they can compete next year,” Martin said.
Zunich is another glimmer of sunlight piercing the dark clouds that currently surround the girls’ basketball team. Zunich is going for the three-point record. “The school record for three’s in a game is six. Mercedes has hit four twice,” Martin revealed. “We’re trying to help her get the record,” Gritts said. “It’s a team goal. She gets a few every game. She’s gotten four, she just needs two more.”
Camps is perhaps the unsung hero of the Lady Red Devils. She has the task of bringing the ball up the court when the other team scores. She has been knocking down three-pointers in the last few games.
The Lady Red Devils played at home on Tuesday, Jan. 15 after The Times-Independent’s Sports section went to press. Look for an update in the Jan, 24 edition.