NEW MARKET — After posting a 12-5 record last season, including 10 straight wins to begin the year, Southmont girls basketball will look a little different this upcoming season, but the Mounties, under second-year coach Dan Burkman will be striving for the same success.
Graduating five seniors, including three starters in Addison Charles, Natalie Manion and Sidney Veatch, Southmont will rely on a new crop of players to mix in with the returning starters.
“Now that we’ve been practicing for a bit, I’m pretty optimistic,” Burkman said. “Things are going better than what I was expecting. The biggest thing for us will be all of the leadership that we lost last season. We’ll need some girls to develop into that role this year.”
The Mounties do return Belle Miller and Hanna Nichols from a season ago and also bring up Dori Frederick and Chelsea Veatch from the junior varsity level. Add in sophomore Delorean Mason who will likely run the point guard spot, and Southmont will be ready to use its athleticism to its advantage.
“Our style of play will be a little different this year,” Burkman said. “With losing a great post player in Sidney, you will have to adapt a little bit and we’re trying to build off a season ago where we tried a few different things like pushing the tempo and being more aggressive to get us in the open court. They seem to like playing that style so it does make things a little easier.”
Southmont has always had great athletes on their team and once again that will play a factor this season.
“It really starts with having a player like Belle,” Burkman said. “She’s a very versatile post-player who can do a lot of things that a typical post-player can’t do. She’ll be a focal point for us and we’ll try and get her more involved on offense this year.”
While the offense will likely feature Miller, Burkman knows it can’t be her alone that carries the scoring load, and it will be a team effort.
“DeLo (Delorean) and Chelsea are both tremendous athletes and play better in an open style atmosphere,” he said. “Then you have Dori who will be relied upon to help Belle out in the scoring column, but more than that step up and be a leader for us. I think both of them our up for that challenge.”
Southmont will begin its season Thursday as they travel to Lizton to open against Sagamore Conference foe Tri-West. The Bruins defeated the Mounties 77-46 a season ago to snap Southmont’s win streak.
“In that game last year, they seemed more structured and organized than us,” Burkman said. “Talent wise I thought we matched up with them pretty well, they just were the better basketball team that night. I think on Thursday we can come out an surprise them and throw their style of play right out the window.”
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