“We have a lot of experience,” Fritz said. “These girls know where to go and know what they’re supposed to do.
“We took second in our (Heart of America) league—a very tough league—and hopefully we’ll make the progression of having a good year into having a better year,” he added.
The bad news for the Eagles is that the team still lacks height and will be limited by their lack of numbers, as graduation has pared the game rotation down to seven athletes.
“Only having two subs, we’re going to have to stay healthy and stay out of foul trouble,” Fritz said. “It’s one of those things where you hope and pray for the best.
“If we were nine or 10 deep it’d be different—then you’d be able to say, ‘We’re going to be able to do this,” he added. “But we also won a lot of games last year in overtime and on last-second shots, so it’s hard to say how we’re going to stack up against the rest of our league.”
Alyssa Koehn is the only one of Canton-Galva’s starters to graduate. Allie Enns, a 5-foot, 8-inch junior, will move from shooting guard to the point guard position in the starting lineup.
“She averaged about seven points a game last year—she’s a very good shooter and defender,” Fritz said. “She was a starter last year for most of the year.”
Kaitlyn Bressie, a 5-7 junior, will move into the shooting-guard role.
“She started for us last year—we had her playing underneath because we didn’t have anyone else to play there,” Fritz said. “She really handled the challenge and ended up leading us in rebounding and was second on the team in points.”
“Overall, she’s probably our best player, as far as defense, rebounding and offense,” he added. “She consistently puts up the best stats, and she’s our best athlete.”
Senior Kaycie Shearer, another well-rounded player with a penchant for grabbing rebounds, will play the wing position.
“She led the team in shooting and was at the top in assists, steals and rebounds,” Fritz said.
Shearer was an all-league honorable mention.
“Between her and Bressie, Bressie is a little more athletic,” Fritz said. “We’re looking for big things from both of them.”
The team also has two solid veterans down low, but not much height.
Kylie Haines, a 5-8 senior, will play at the post position.
“Kylie scored around 5 points per game and averaged four rebounds per game before she broke her arm toward the end of the year,” Fritz said. “She’s back from that, with no lingering effects—knock on wood.”
Ashley Vogts, a 5-7 senior, will play at forward. “She played quite a bit last year,” Fritz said.
The Eagles have two players coming off the bench: 5-4 senior Shannon Williams will rotate in along the perimeter, and 5-10 junior Kaitlin Dailey will come in to the post.
“Dailey is a tall girl who will do a good job with post defense for her—and hopefully, she’ll be able to make the 2-foot shot, because that’s what we’ll try to get her,” Fritz said.
“Shannon will give us some ball-handling skills off the bench,” he said. “She hit a big 3-pointer for us against Hutch Trinity last year.
“She’s a very reliable player—she’s been with us four years, but she’s just not as tall as our other guards,” Fritz said.
Without any sophomores on the roster, the Eagles rotation will be limited to seven players.
“Other than that, we’re down to freshmen, so that really limits what I can do,” Fritz said.
Berean Academy will be the toughest league foe for the Eagles, and Moundridge and Hutch Trinity will both have good teams, according to the Eagles’ coach.
“Those three, they’re always tough—they’ve got not only tradition, they’ve got very good athletes,” Fritz said. “We’re going to have to work hard on our inside defense.
“Moundridge and them have some athletic 6-footers, so we’re going to have to hit our perimeter shots,” he added. “It’s not going to do us a lot of good to throw it inside to our 5-7 and 5-8 post players when they’re being guarded by tall defenders.”
The Eagles are caught between having players suited to an up-tempo style and lacking the depth to be able to play at top speed on every possession.
“We’re going to have to hit some outside shots and get some turnovers for some easy looks and easy baskets,” Fritz said. “With only two subs, I don’t know if we can afford to get into an up-and-down game.
“We’ll have to make the most of our fast breaks, but if those opportunities aren’t there, we’ll have to slow it down and look for our 3-point shots,” Fritz added. “We’re short, and there’s not much we can do about that. But we seemed to find a way to get it done last year, and I hope we can find a way to get it done this year.”
The Eagles open their schedule at home Friday against Inman.