By Michael Hicks
Make no bones about it, when one scouts the Berthoud girls’ basketball team, at least early on during the 2008-09 season, two things will be pretty clear.
One, the team should be as tenacious on defense as anybody else out there. And two, the Spartans will need to look elsewhere for some offense with five of its top seven scorers from a year ago gone. That’s just the facts that Randy Earls’ squad faces.
“I think we’ll play as good of defense as any teams we’ve had here, but how many points we can get up on the board is a concern,” said Earls, whose team went 17-9 a season ago.
Gone are Jasmine Cervantes, last year’s leading scorer at 18.6 points per game. She’s now applying her trade at Metro State. Sarah Allshouse averaged 9.6 points in 2007-08 with 11 games scoring in double figures. Kassie Haubert averaged more than 10 points per game. Caitlyn Chrystal and Alyssa Lucero are also no longer with the team.
But those back include Amy Ekart, the team’s top returning scorer at 7.7 points per game, Sara Loberg and Rose Heaphy, the only senior on this year’s squad. While the team lacks returning scorers and experience it employs a stern man-to-man defense, which will have to be the team’s bread and butter until the offense gets clicking.
“Defense is probably our strong point,” Ekart said. “We’re still getting some things put in on offense. We’re a smaller team. We know we won’t have a size advantage over people. We’ll look more toward transition to get our points.”
Besides Ekart, Loberg and Heaphy, Berthoud will start sophomores Megan McGinn and Danielle Wikre — both of whom will see time in the backcourt. They are two of four sophomores on the varsity roster, which also includes four juniors, led by Ekart and Loberg.
Those players will have to step up to help the Spartans to replace the offensive production they lost.
“We’re just going to come out hard and do our best,” Heaphy said. “We did lose a lot of key players from last year, but we know we got to stick to our guns and play to what we know what we can play.”
The varsity squad won’t have much to pick from when it comes to reserves, either. Berthoud won’t field a C-team this year due to a lack in numbers, but that’s not as much of a concern as finding scorers is.
What Berthoud lacks in varsity experience, it certainly doesn’t lack in talent, according to Earls. The players coming up to the varsity squad for the first time just need to get up to speed with the game, said the Spartans head coach.
“They all have some experience. They all played JV basketball last year,” Earls said. “They all were very successful with the JV team. It’s just a matter of moving up to varsity and playing varsity level and getting used to the speed of the game and all the things you’ve got to do.”
Once the Spartans do that, things should be OK, said Ekart.
“We’ve got a couple of early conference games before winter break that will get some people some experience,” she said. “People have just got to step up and play roles they’re not used to. We’ve got to do our jobs and we should be fine.”
<p>Besides Amy Ekart, Sara Loberg and Rose Heaphy, the Berthoud High girls basketball team will start sophomores Megan McGinn and Danielle Kikre — both of whom will see time in the backcourt. They are two of four sophomores on the varsity roster, which also includes four juniors, led by Ekart and Loberg.</p>