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Lady Lancers off to a strong start on the court this season

The girls’ basketball teams at EDSS are off to a successful start with the senior team winning two tournaments in a row and the juniors holding a 4-1 record.

They played to a packed gym on Oct. 8 as part of the Battle of the Barns versus Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School.

Karley Sider led Elmira with 19 points in their 45-15 win over WODSS. Nicole Cressman followed close behind with 15.

Seniors girls basketball coach Brian Carter commends the two veteran players for their teamwork.

“We’re led by two great fifth-year players that have been on the team for three years now and they have been playing together for so long, and they feed off each other very well. But they’re also showing great leadership for the rest of the team,” Carter said.

Point guard Cressman scores, but she also distributes the ball well to her teammates. Power forward Karley Sider often leads the team in points, while also rebounding and providing a great presence defensively. Carter says with those two on the floor they have a good basis for the rest of the girls to build off of.

Half of last year’s team is back again this year. He says they have different strengths from last year’s team. So far, they’re playing more defensively and spreading around the ball to involve more players.

Natalie Mayer reaches up to make the shot as the junior team takes on Waterloo-Oxford Oct. 8, ultimately falling 47-25.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Natalie Mayer reaches up to make the shot as the junior team takes on Waterloo-Oxford Oct. 8, ultimately falling 47-25. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
“They’re talking on the floor, they’re starting to play together and the more they play together they realize where each other are on the floor so that they can make passes more consistently and they can help each other on defense more often, and play as a unit, instead of an individual,” Carter said.

Against WODSS, they started slow. But once they started getting some shots in they relaxed and picked up the pace. Not used to such a big crowd watching, Carter says they fed off the crowd’s energy.

“Yesterday’s game was definitely our best all round game of the year, both offensively and defensively. We’ve had good offensive games, we’ve had good defensive games, but I thought we put it all together yesterday and we played very well,” Carter said the following day.

The team won their own home tournament two weeks ago and followed it up the next weekend by defending their title at the Rockway tournament, which they’ve won two years in a row now.

They came in eighth place last year. They want to at least match that this year or hopefully place higher.

“For WCSSAA league play we should make the playoffs, that shouldn’t be a problem. Our goal right now is just to get the highest seat as possible so we can have a good first-round match in the playoffs,” Carter said.

The senior team is seventh in the league of 16 teams, with a 2-2 record. The junior team is in third with a 4-1 record, out of 16 teams.

As for the junior team, there are seven Grade 9 players and four Grade 10 players returning from last year. They lost to Waterloo-Oxford on Oct. 8, 47-25.

Junior girls basketball coach Pam Germann says the team is getting along well and working on making sure they’re communicating on and off the court.

“They’ve been playing really hard and they’ve been learning a lot from our games that we’ve been playing. The girls who played last year are taking on a little bit of a leadership role and showing the girls how to use plays. So we’re usually having a couple of them on playing with the other girls as well, so they can lead them through plays,” Germann said.

She noted some of the new girls came out of Grade 8 with some basketball experience from the Woolwich Cougars Basketball program. Now, they’re building on those skills.

“We want to learn as much as we can from each other and our games. We want to play hard and improve our skill level and we’re also focused on being competitive and winning as many games as we can,” Germann said of their goals for this season.

She says veterans Natalie Mayer, Sami Martin, Jacqueline Wideman are leading the team with their strong skill sets.

Where last year’s team was a bit stronger defensively, this year’s team is more focused on offense.

Their first loss of the season, to Waterloo-Oxford, was a learning experience they’re looking to build on.

“We were able to learn a lot from playing against a team who play at that level. It was definitely a tough game, but I think we’re coming out on the other side more improved and ready to take on the next team,” Germann said.

Their next home games are Oct. 20 versus Kitchener Collegiate Institute for the junior team and Galt Collegiate Institute for the senior team. The juniors play at 3:15 p.m. and the seniors hit the court at 4:45 p.m.

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