The beginning of most sports seasons are exciting. It's doubly so for the Calvary Lutheran girls basketball team this time around.
In addition to the normal anticipation that accompanies the first game, the Lady Lions have another reason to be anxious.
"We're excited, the girls are ready to play," said Calvary coach Jonathan Kueck, whose team begins the year today at New Bloomfield. "And we had our Red and White Game on Saturday, and that was probably the last time we'll play at Trinity (Lutheran)."
That's because the new on-campus gym at Calvary is expected to be ready around the first of the year, which would put it right around the time of the Lady Lions' first home game, Dec. 28 against Chamois.
And if that wasn't enough, even the preseason has been fun, as a larger-than-usual team has made practice enjoyable.
"It's exciting with 11 girls," Kueck said. "We've got some talent with the younger girls and more players, which should help."
Those younger players will learn from two seniors who are entering their fourth year on the varsity, post player Kara Wehmeyer and guard Emily Hager.
"Those are two starters who will be able to help the team out quite a bit," Kueck said. "They'll help introduce the rest of the team to the game, as play on the varsity will be very different than what (the younger ones) are used to."
Hager will split time between shooting guard and point guard, possibly less at the latter if things go according to plan.
"Freshman Becca Thompson will also play point guard and I'm hoping as the season goes on, she'll take over and free up Emily to play the 2," Kueck said. "(Thompson) has got a good bit of talent."
Those three are part of a core group of seven girls who will see the bulk of the playing time. Two players who will play the 3 spot are freshmen Brooke Rollins and Lizzie Oxley.
Post players include freshmen Sam Gunn and Kalee Williams.
"We're excited about our girls program at Calvary - Kara has always been our tallest girl and she's not anymore," Kueck said. "Sam is 6-foot and Kalee is a tall 5-10, if not 5-11."
The rest of the squad includes senior Grace Cook, sophomore Kelly Rakow and freshmen Jessie Henisen and Grace Eheim
"We're excited about what we can do this season," Kueck said. "With the seven freshmen, five of them have played together for three or four years at Trinity, which is nice. Getting them acclimated to the rest of the team is something we've been working on."
That's not the only thing they've spent time on.
"One thing we've been working on is ball control, not turning over the ball," Kueck said. "That's something the Lady Lions have struggled with in the past. Not to sound boastful, or to paint a pretty picture that's not there, but I think we're going to be better at that this year."
With the work done in that area, one intangible looms large.
"Hopefully we can keep everybody healthy and give ourselves a chance to win," Kueck said.