Fatima kicks things off tonight

Fatima guards Logan Abbott (left) and Morgan Brandt will anchor the backcourt for the Lady Comets this season.

Fatima guards Logan Abbott (left) and Morgan Brandt will anchor the backcourt for the Lady Comets this season. Photo by Kris Wilson.

The Fatima Lady Comets are going to hassle you. They’re going to hound you. They’re going to create all sorts of havoc.

That’s exactly how head coach Dustin Hays wants it. He certainly has the personnel to do it.

“The good thing is we have a lot of depth. This is probably the deepest team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” he said as Fatima opens its season at 7:30 p.m. today against Owensville at home. “As deep as we are, and as quick and as long as we are — we don’t have a huge girl, but we’re all 5-foot-8, 5-9, 5-10, pretty long across the board — that’s our style of play right there. If we’re not going to be in a fullcourt press situation, we’re going to get after you in the halfcourt.”

That was evident during the basketball jamboree Nov. 22 at Helias, when Fatima swept a trio of two-quarter games from Helias, Jefferson City and Blair Oaks.

Fatima is coming off a 20-7 season that saw the Lady Comets fall in the district semifinals to Dixon. That followed a 17-10 season in 2011-12 when Fatima lost to St. James in the same round.

The Lady Comets are ready to shed that pattern.

“The big thing I told the girls was, ‘We’ve lost in the district semifinals the last two years. Really good teams we’ve lost to, but we’ve still lost in the district semis the last two years, so we want to get over that hump. Whatever happens from there we’ll take it,’” Hays said.

But there are some other goals to take care of first.

“We haven’t talked about it a whole heck of a lot,” Hays said. “That’s one thing we always did before, is we set these huge goals for ourselves. This year I told them to set individual goals. They know what’s out there. They know first and foremost we want to win a (Show-Me) Conference championship. We’ve won three in a row. We want to continue that streak.”

And Hays believes he has the group to make that happen.

It starts with shooting guard Morgan Brandt.

“She was our point guard last year,” Hays said. “We moved her off the point because we need her scoring ability, we need her outside-shooting ability a little bit more. She creates on defense as well. As hard as she plays on offense, she plays just as hard on the defensive end. That’s all you can ask for.”

Brandt is getting looks from NCAA Division II schools going into her junior campaign, but could certainly draw Division I interest with a strong season.

The supporting cast includes point guard Logan Abbott and 3-guard Leah Kesel.

“Logan has never played the point guard before really,” Hays said. “She comes out and does a great job running the point for us. … Leah knocks down some big shots.”

Kate Massman and Annie Bock are slated to start at forward.

“We can run four to five post players out there that all give us great minutes, that can all knock down a 15-foot jump shot,” Hays said. “You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Kristen Boeckmann, Christine Brunnert, Caitlin Berhorst and Sammy Bunch — the killer B’s in a sense — figure to grab valuable minutes off the bench. Not only that, they’re a group — along with the starters — that can all stretch the defense.

“That’s one thing. As athletic as we are, we thought coming into the season we’d see a lot of zone,” Hays said. “People won’t want to man up on us, they’ll want to zone us up. So we’ve been working a whole lot on our shooting because we’re going to have to hit some shots from the outside to force people to play us man.”

The hassling begins tonight.

“These girls are ready to play somebody else,” Hays said. “I see it on their faces, they’re ready to get going. Owensville is a good squad, they’re a good team to start out with. They’re really excited.”

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