The Goessel girls? basketball team returns five starters this year, and is eager to improve on a 6-16 record last season.
?The Lady Bluebirds did a lot of growing up last year,? said coach Ryan Hoopes, who is back for his sixth year at the helm.
?Coming off a season where they lost eight games by four points or less, they are eager to get better and compete with confidence and win those games.?
Returning starters for the Bluebirds include senior guards Aimee Flaming and D?Ambra Kruger.
?(Kruger) missed a few games last year, but she?s going to be a key player for us,? Hoopes said. ?She?s not extremely big, but she?s been working hard at the post and she?s come a long way.?
Other returners include junior point guard Jessica Harvey, junior guard Johanna Hoffman and junior forward Alex Hiebert.
?(Harvey) came a long way last year, so I?ve seen a lot of confidence in her build this last year,? Hoopes said. ?She?s going to handle the ball for us, and she?s our defensive stopper.?
Hoopes said Hiebert had moments last year where she dominated at the post, but struggled with inconsistency, a problem he hopes to see her improve this season.
Goessel returns last year?s top scorers in guards Flaming and Hoffman, but they also struggled with inconsistency.
Hoopes is keeping an eye out for Alli Buller, a junior forward, and Samantha Jarvis, a senior forward. Both players suffered injuries last season, but will look to stay healthy and make contributions this campaign.
?So far I?ve been very impressed with this first week of practice,? Hoopes said. ?The girls are working hard. I think we?ll be competitive in the league. I think every night we?ll have a chance to win.?
But wins might be tough to come by against non-league opponents Berean Academy, Moundridge and Inman.
?Those are always big 2A schools that are a challenge for us,? Hoopes said. But last year the Bluebirds picked up a win over Inman to springboard their season.
?Hopefully, we can do that again this year,? he said.