Birchwood Christian girls ready for new challenge
Birchwood Christian School’s girls basketball team can forget about their second-best Central Interior Conference record last year.
This season, it doesn’t mean anything.
The Warriors joined the Peninsula Conference — a division full of unfamiliar teams.
“We’re coming into unknown territory,” BCS head coach Tamie Vickers said.
While she hasn’t met them on the court, Vickers knows the Peninsula Conference is full of tough competitors such as Cook Inlet Academy — last year’s Class 2A state runner-up — and perennial peninsula powerhouse Ninilchik.
“There’s some really strong teams with a history of going to state,” she said.
But that doesn’t worry Vickers.
“I see it as a challenge,” she said.
Seven of Birchwood’s 11 players are returners. But three of last year’s starters graduated.
“We’re a really young team,” Vickers said. “A lot of inexperience.”
Key returners include seniors Katelynn Becker, Ariel Rud and Savannah Cage — a 2012 All-Central Interior Conference selection. Rud is coming off of a torn ACL suffered prior to the conference tournament last season, and Vickers is using her sparingly early in the 2012-13 campaign.
Also returning is sophomore point guard Aubrey Becker.
Though some new faces will start for BCS, Vickers said she isn’t short on energy.
“I have some fireplugs out there,” she said.
Strong ball handling skills will be essential if BCS wants to compete with the faster-paced teams of the Peninsula Conference, Vickers said.
“We’re just gonna go hard the whole season,” she said.
Entering the season in shape is also essential, Katelynn Becker said.
“We need to condition,” she said.
With a conference full of more aggressive teams, BCS needs to take advantage of open looks, Katelynn Becker said.
Staying positive is another key, she said.
“We need to keep up our confidence,” Katelynn Becker said. “Not get down on ourselves.”
BCS started its season with a seventh-place finish at the Lumen Christi Classic on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The Warriors went 1-2 at the tourney. After losing to tournament-host Lumen Christi 42-17 on Dec. 13, BCS dropped a 52-25 decision to Aniak the following day before beating Wasilla Lake Christian 29-15 on Saturday.
The Warriors don’t have any team goals for now, Vickers said. Instead, the team’s only focus is their immediate opponent.
“We’re just taking it game by game,” she said.
Vickers said her ultimate goal is to see her team improve throughout the year.
“Seeing the growth through the season is what I get to look forward to as a coach,” she said.
The Warriors’ success is contingent on attitude, Katelynn Becker said.
“We know that we can get better if we work hard,” she said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email him at email@example.com