Young Lady Barons making strides

By on December 19, 2018
Junior guard Laura Good leads the Manheim Central girls in scoring through their first five games with 10.4 ppg. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Junior guard Laura Good leads the Manheim Central girls in scoring through their first five games with 10.4 ppg. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

More than anything else, the Manheim Central girls basketball team just needs time.

Time to build chemistry and time to learn how to win games.

Such is the case when you graduate eight seniors, as the Lady Barons did from their 2017-18 team which finished 8-6 Section Two, 10-12 overall.

Among that group were starters Brooke Breinich, Serena Conde and Elli Weaver.

“We’re very young,” Manheim Central fourth-year coach Amanda Burns said, “so we are just correcting mistakes as we go.”

Just how young are the Lady Barons?

Well, they have 12 sophomores and freshmen on the roster. Not one senior will play for the Central girls this winter, and junior guards Laura Good and Kassidy Michael are MC’s only returning starters. Sophomore guard Eden Heiserman was also due to return with experienced, but suffered an injury in the off-season.

But what the Lady Barons lack in experience, they help themselves with a lot of intangibles.

“They’re smart players, so my sophomores and freshmen are learning fast at practice and in the game situations, which is great because they’re coachable and they take feedback and they apply it,” she said. “So what are my impressions? They’re quick learners and they’re coachable. But being young, they’re learning how to also have the right mindset, and to stay focused and stay disciplined. Those are all things that come with time.”

Understandably, Good and Michael, who have been named captains, will be asked to shoulder much of the mentoring.

“They’re the leaders,” Burns said. “They’re setting the tone for games, defensively and offensively. That’s the role they’re going to have to play. They’re going to have to be really good communicators. We had seniors last year who did that real well and now they know that’s the role they have to fill this year.”

Through Manheim Central’s first four games this season, Good was leading the team in scoring with 11.25 ppg, and freshman forward Rachel Nolt — a transfer from Manheim Christian School — was second with 5.25 ppg.

“Rachel is working to become more confident in attacking the hoop,” Burns said. “She has an outside shot and she’s learning how to run in transition with Laura and Kassidy. I think she just needs a little bit more time, (but) we should expect great things out of her by midway through the season.”

In general, Burns believes her team has the ability to knock down outside shots, but they are working to become more comfortable doing that at the varsity level.

With the graduation of players like Breinich and Conde from last year, the Lady Barons are smaller, but MC’s coach also believes they are a lot quicker.

“They’re fast,” Burns said. “So we’re excited to do some things that are different. With our speed, we’re looking to continue to have more people in transition than we had last year, different people looking to create offense off of transition. That’s one of our strengths right now.”

A couple other guards who will contribute include sophomores Summer Bates and Kamryn Miller, who are both averaging 3.0 ppg in the early going.

“Kamryn has a nice outside shot,” Burns said. “She hasn’t had a lot of time and experience on varsity, so she’s learning what does that pace of game look like, how to defend at that level, and then also how to get her shot off. Summer is playing a little bit more of a guard, or a point guard when Kassidy isn’t in the game. She sees gaps, she can attack, and she can also shoot from the outside.”

Freshman center Paige Snyder (5-foot-9), in addition to scoring six points in games last week against Warwick and Daniel Boone, is making her presence known on the defensive end of the floor. In a one-point loss to the Lady Warriors, she grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.

“Paige is becoming a very good communicator on the court,” Burns said. “We’re learning that she has a strong understanding of the game and can communicate that with the other players on the court. She’s been a good defensive coordinator and is being relied on to pull rebounds. She’s also learning how to play the post, recover, things like that. She’s doing a good job coming through.”

Looking ahead to the Section Three race, Burns is expecting it to be competitive from top to bottom. Lampeter-Strasburg and Solanco are currently tied for the top spot, both at 1-0.

“I’m not going to say L-S is going to just pull it out,” Burns said. “I think that Solanco has a lot of talent, L-S has a lot of talent so it could be either one of them. Garden Spot and Cocalico both have key players on their teams.”

Manheim Central, despite its youth, is also hoping to keep itself in the post-season conversation when the calendar turns to February.

“I wouldn’t put it past us,” Burns said. “I wouldn’t just forget about Manheim Central. I mean, we have a lot of potential. I think we’re probably going to take a little bit longer to get that chemistry going, but I have all the faith in them and I don’t think they’re going to quit on anything either. We just need to play smart, and I hope people aren’t surprised if we pull some of these wins out and are still under consideration at the end.”




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