Lady Titans aiming for bigger things on the basketball court this season
Dec 10, 2019 12:53PM
● By Josh McFadden
Olympus senior Monet Clough (No. 2 in white) is one of the Titans’ top returning players this season. (Photo courtesy of Ed Askew)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Last season, the Olympus girls basketball engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in the state.
The Titans aren’t done yet.
Olympus finished 12-10 overall last season and went 6-4 in Region 6, typing Murray for the runner-up spot in the league standings. The Titans narrowly lost to Farmington in the first round of the state tournament.
Not bad for a team that didn’t win a single region game the year before.
The 2017–18 squad had a rough 1-20 campaign, making last season’s success quite a comeback. Head coach Whitney Hunsaker has directed the rebuilding effort and likes where the program is headed. She’s optimistic that the girls will continue to progress and be a difficult matchup for foes.
“This year, expectations are high,” she said. “Coming off a great rebuilding year, we are looking to improve our record even more. But we are going to stick to what we do best so we can reach our goals of getting far into the state tournament and competing with each opponent.”
Hunsaker has some firepower and leadership returning from last season. Sophomore Alyssa Blanck was impressive in her freshman season, leading the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game. She was also the team’s leading rebounder with nearly seven boards a contest. Hunsaker is thrilled to have her back to pace the group.
“She is looking to improve her game and see her teammates when teams are going to try to lock down on her,” Hunsaker said.
Last season’s third-leading scorer, Monet Clough, is also back. The senior forward averaged nearly nine points and almost five rebounds an outing last season.
“She will be a great leader for us and will bring a big presence in the key,” Hunsaker said.
Though Olympus made huge progress last season, Hunsaker isn’t satisfied. She sees the team’s potential and believes even better things could be in store for the girls. She wants her players to be dedicated throughout the season at every game and practice.
“We need a group of kids who are going to come in every day and enjoy the process,” she said. “While we have seen some progress, we are not where we want to be. We need players that are going to do the little things on both ends of the floor like communicating, cheering for teammates and celebrating each other’s successes. We have a fire to get better every day.”
Heading into the first game of the season, Nov. 26 at home against Maple Mountain, Hunsaker likes what she sees out of her players’ skills and talent. The Titans could be a challenging team to face because of their ability to score points and shut down opponents.
“We are fast and have great outside shooters and a strong post presence,” she said. “We’re looking to speed teams up, put pressure on them on the offensive and defensive end, and get a lot of inside-outside looks.”
Hunsaker admits that the season can be long and take a toll on players. The grueling schedule can be physically and mentally taxing, so players must stay focused.
“Just keeping up the determination is a challenge I try to tackle every year,” she said. “I know what it’s like to compete during basketball season, so my focus is always to keep things going and keep things fun.”