“Those three will all be in the mix,” Savage said. “Our rotation is up in the air right now, but we don’t have a lot of seniors, and their leadership will be very valuable to us.”
Hardey is a 5-foot, 7-inch forward who saw significant action last year.
“Kimber is someone who gets to the right place at the right time—she has a nose for the ball, and she’s tough inside.”
Along with Hardey, Savage looks for Helmer and Percell to make a large impact with their experience.
“Lauren plays kind of the same as Kimber, and it will be good to have Percell back after injury,” he added. “We’ll need them all to play defense and make the easy ones.”
A 5-6 junior, Amanda Richmond is the team’s only other upperclassman.
The quartet of upperclassmen will be joined by sophomores Julia Zeiner, Kaylee Heerey and Lindsay Hett.
“Those three are pretty good athletes, and they’ll all be a big part of what we’re trying to do,” Savage said.
Hett is 5-5 and will play a prominent role.
“Lindsey is a heck of a ball handler,” Savage said. “Kaylee and Julia are both about 5-8, and between them, they have a whole lot of speed.
“Whether or not we can get them to use it all the time remains to be seen, but they’ve got speed to burn.”
Another 5-8 sophomore, Kristen Steinborn, also has the potential to make plays at both ends of the court.
“After that, we’re looking at two or three other sophomores who might be able to come in and give us some rest and play solid defense,” Savage said.
Instilling the importance of solid defense is a high priority for Savage.
“I’m more concerned with solid defense than anything else—if you don’t play defense, you won’t play,” he said.
Savage will retain elements of the style that Marion has played in recent history.
“We’re going to apply pressure everywhere on the court,” Savage said.
“We’re going to run every time, whether we get a basket off it or not—to make the defense get back and wear themselves down.
“So we’ll press as much as we can and run as much as we can,” he added.
But when it comes to specifics, the Warriors will play with elements of a new look.
“We’ll use some different defenses and a little different offense—and it’s probably about time to change that around anyway,” Savage said.
Time will tell to what degree the changes will impact the wins and losses columns in this season’s standings.
Marion opens its schedule at 5 p.m. Friday at Chase County.