2013-14 girls prep hoops preview: Newberry girls trying to build on 2012-13 successes

NEWBERRY – After a season of improvement, the Newberry girls basketball team looks to build upon last year’s progress as they enter the 2013-2014 season.

Head coach Hondo Depew said Newberry’s seven wins were the most the team has had in the past 10 years. Although the progress was an accomplishment, Depew said the Indians still struggled through the season.

“It was a bittersweet sort of thing,” Depew said. “We finally had a little bit of an improvement, but we’re still under .500, and we still have a long ways to go from last year.”

With five seniors and a handful of skilled underclassmen being bumped up to varsity, Depew said he expects Newberry to be able to post a winning record this year.

Depew said his upperclassmen have grown to accept that the younger players might have a higher skill level than them. While this might mean the seniors will get fewer minutes on the court, they have realized it will result in a stronger team, he said.

Despite the wide range of ages on the team, Depew said the Indians’ chemistry has developed well leading up to the season.

“The seniors understand it,” Depew said. “They have all seemed to buy into the idea that they’re working for wins instead of working for individuals.”

In addition to the goal of remaining healthy throughout the season, Depew said the team will need to be aggressive and give effort in all four quarters to find success.

“We’ve had a handful of games that we’ve been beat by too many points, and I hope to end that this year,” Depew said.

Depew said the competitiveness is what he looks forward to most about being in season, and he expects to see an increasing amount of it from his players as the season progresses.

“These seniors have always been a pretty competitive group, and with the help from our underclassmen, I think we should be a much more competitive team,” Depew said.

The Indians kicked off their season at home on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in a 57-37 win over Engadine High School.

Proving the importance of Newberry’s young players from the start, freshman Taylor Bryant led the Indians with 17 points on the night. Senior Marissa Rushford followed with 10 and sophomore Monika Tomica tallied nine.