ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Since graduating from Halstead High School in 1981, Tabor College women’s basketball coach Rusty Allen has become anything but rusty when it comes to teaching the game of basketball.
After high school, Allen played four years at McPherson College then established a basketball legacy at Sabetha High School. He coached a strong Hesston High School team for the next five years.
Now with Tabor, Allen optimistically faces his first season as a college head coach with a young team that lacks height and experience.
“It’s hard to lay out a lot of expectations, based on my inexperience,” Allen said. “I don’t have any experience with the conference or with the women’s side of things.
“It’s real difficult for me compare my team with the other teams in the conference when I haven’t seen the other teams yet.”
Carmen Hein, a junior off-guard from Hillsboro, will move to the point guard position this season, according to Allen. He said he has been impressed with Hein’s skills.
“Her first step is as quick as anybody in the conference,” Allen said. “Probably the thing she brings to the team that helps us more than anything is the ability to get the ball to the open player on the court almost before it happens. She gives people fits.”
Angela Kroeker, another HHS grad who played off-guard and power-forward for the Bluejays last season, will begin her second year with the Bluejays once the volleyball season concludes.
“Angela is a good shooter and a slasher to the basket,” Allen said. “She’s a complete player.”
The Bluejays will also bring in a host of newcomers this season that Allen believes will contribute to his team’s success including freshmen, Kathryn Troutt a 5-7 guard from Oologah, Okla., Michelle Rink a 5-5 guard from Wichita, Kylee Friesen a 5-4 guard from Henderson, Neb. and Jessica Prock a 5-8 junior guard.
Allen believes his team will have to play aggressively and will have to play as a team to compete with other teams.
“I don’t know how our talent measures up,” Allen said. “But I know that you can always play hard and play together. There maybe somethings that are out of your control, but (playing as a team) is not out of our control.”
Coming off Saturday’s win over the alumni team, Allen is anxiously waiting for the arrival of the rest of his team.
Five players are still involved with fall sports and his team is currently practicing only with 10 players.
“A fairly significant portion of our team has not joined us yet,” Allen said. “That’s been a challenge, but we’re working on that and we’ll get it ironed out.
“We’ve made a lot of progress with the players who have been practicing. We’re just at a point were we need the rest of our team.”
Yesterday, the Bluejays officially opened their season against Newman University in Wichita and will host Oklahoma Wesleyan University on Saturday.