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Examiner
  • Patriots expecting more success

  • It might be tough for the Truman girls basketball team the success of last season’s 25-1 campaign, but after getting a look at the Patriots the last couple weeks in summer league, coach Steve Cassity isn’t expecting a huge drop-off.

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  • It might be tough for the Truman girls basketball team the success of last season’s 25-1 campaign, but after getting a look at the Patriots the last couple weeks in summer league, coach Steve Cassity isn’t expecting a huge drop-off.
    Truman’s replacing all-conference forward Ashley Guenther, starting guard Brooke Parton and reserves Sandra Chiles and Darci Kern, but in some ways, Cassity said, this year’s squad could actually be improved.
    “We’re not going to overhaul the whole thing, we don’t need to change a lot, but I think we’re more athletic with some of the kids that will be getting more minutes,” Cassity said after his team’s 40-27 summer-league win over Lee’s Summit West on Monday at Blue Springs South High School. “And I think that gives us the opportunity to do some things differently on both ends of the floor.”
    Cassity said that could mean pushing the tempo more, trying to score some transition baskets and increasing the defensive pressure.
    He added that the incoming sophomore class is a group the coaching staff has long considered a strong one. Among the potential contributors are Briana Savidge and Sydney Paialii, who both started Monday (although all-conference senior guard Abby Hix was out of town).
    Senior Becca Jonas, who led the Pats with 18 points and seven rebounds Monday, likened Savidge’s physical tools to Guenther’s, and that’s whose position Savidge will likely man.
    “They’re very similar,” Jonas said. “She’s lengthy, and that’s going to help us defensively. Bri just needs to get her post moves down, and she will. She’s kind of mixing in with the guards and posts in practice. Once she settles into her body, she’s going to be great.”
    Jonas chose Guenther as a comparison, but Cassity said Savidge’s versatility reminds him of current Patriot Kayla Harrell, who has played all five positions and earned all-conference honors last season.
    “I think before it’s all said and done here (Savidge) could play all over the floor,” Cassity said. “But right now, because she’s young, we’re going to kind of put her in the post and let her learn that spot and let her get comfortable there and understand what her expectations are on both ends of the floor.”
    Another Patriot who could emerge is senior guard Ashley McKinney. She’s been a fixture on Truman’s second unit since suffering a fractured vertebra her freshman year, but she’s struggled to find major minutes with as deep as the Pats’ back court has been. Now, Cassity expects her to start and share ballhandling duties with Hix.
    “Ashley understands the game as well as any kid on the floor,” Cassity said. “She can see the assist. She understands the flow of the game and has a great basketball IQ and this is going to be her year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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