Eagle River girls have small basketball turnout

Third-year coach hopeful to get first win


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The Wolves’ Mikayla Douglas drives to the basket against ACS.

STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER

Different year, same problem.

Eagle River High girls basketball again is suffering from low numbers. The 2011-12 team has just six full-time varsity players and two JV swingers.

It’s a problem that’s plagued the Wolves since senior captain Meaghan Byman started playing as a sophomore.

“The problem is we have a new team every year,” she said. “That’s a big key to our unsuccessfulness.”

Attracting more girls to the sport would remedy the situation, Byman said.

That’s slowly starting to happen, said third-year head coach Terra Bingham.

A total of 22 girls are in Eagle River’s program, she said. The Wolves were able to field a JV and C team this season.

“When other people are suffering, we’re still growing,” Bingham said. “This is the first year in a long time we’ve had a C team.”

Byman and Bingham have yet to win an Eagle River girls varsity game; however, Bingham is hopeful this season will be different.

“We are better this year than last year,” she said. “I know we are.”

One thing different for all Cook Inlet Conference teams is that only the top two in the CIC will earn automatic state berths. Other automatic Class 4A berths include two from the Northern Lights Conference and one from the Southeast and Mid Alaska conferences.

The final two spots will be determined by Winning Percentage Index standings. This is the first time WPI will be used to determine who goes to state.

Avoiding turnovers on the first pass will be key for success on offense, Bingham said.

“We will be pretty good if we play the game we’re supposed to,” she said.

Along with improving its turnover ratio, the Wolves need to put more points on the board, Byman said.

The latter will be important to achieve one of the team’s goals — playing closer games with opponents, junior Dana Panfil said.

“We don’t want to get smashed every time,” she said.

The team’s low numbers and new faces forces Eagle River to work on basics, Panfil said.

“We have to start on fundamentals, which automatically puts us at a disadvantage,” she said. “We just need a solid team, which is hard.”

Though the team hasn’t worked together too much, Bingham said, she’s already seeing signs of good things to come.

Panfil — one of the team’s most potent scorers — will be essential to spark Eagle River’s offense, Bingham said.

“We just need to get her the ball where she can score,” she said.

Sophomore Samantha Coy’s energy will be key at the post, Bingham said.

“She’s really aggressive,” Bingham said.

Just as the flag football team did, the basketball squad will rely on freshman Lauren Frost. Frost, who quarterbacked the Wolves, will run the offense at point guard.

“I’m grateful for her,” Bingham said.

Byman’s role on the gridiron will also carry over onto the court, as the Wolves will rely on her strong defensive abilities.

“She’s totally captain material,” Bingham said. “She’s a leader.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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