Lady Olympians miss playoffs

Kenny Kinder

Led by second year Coach Michael Hootner the Mesa College Women’s Basketball team prepared for a season of development and building blocks.

Managed by a roster containing only three returning players, the Lady Olympians were forced to look for first year players to fill the voids left by the departure of 11 players from last season’s team.

Freshman center/forward Katherine Gerlek led the low-post presence with her 44 percent field goal percentage averaging a near double-double with 8.9 points per game and 8 rebounds per game.

First year guards Annessa Jamison and Tammie Edwards assisted the backcourt averaging eight and six points per game respectively.

At times this season the Lady Olympians offense looked stagnant. Averaging a mere 39 points per games on 29 percent shooting from the field it was clear they needed an additional consistent scorer. However, the shooting woes didn’t stop there. The Lady Olympians shot 19 percent from beyond the arc and 54 percent from the charity stripe.

“Early on, we didn’t shoot well percentage wise and turned the ball over a great deal but in the last 10 games, we’ve scored five more points per game, outrebounded our opponents in all games except one, improved our shooting percentage by eight, decreased our opponents scoring average by eight and decreased our turnover average by 14, which I think is an incredible stat,” expressed Hootner. “I revamped practice completely and did some very innovative things and it has worked as you can see. We just needed another consistent scorer this year to turn a number of our close losses into wins,” he concluded.

As the season dwindled down some players were able to review and express thoughts on the season.

“We had a lot of great spirits among our team, we just had a difficult time putting it all together as one during the times of truth,” replied sophomore guard Jamie Franklin. “Overall I think we realized late the talent we had as a collective unit. Our lack of trust was probably our biggest downfall,” she concluded.

Despite this season’s losing woes women’s basketball will transfer two players to four-year universities.

Sophomore Franklin has offers from San Francisco State University, Lehman College and Cal State East Bay. She is still undecided.

“I only planned on being here a year and now my time is up,” said Franklin. “This off-season I’m going to work on shooting under pressure and being more of an offensive threat.”

Joy Tili, a sophomore as well, is the only other player moving on to a four-year institution. She averaged seven points per game this season to go along with nearly seven rebounds a game.

Tili will attend Gallaudet University or Cal State Northridge next winter.

Starting the season 0-13 isn’t what coaches expect coming into the season, neither is honing only two wins with a game left.

To assure that next season has a different outcome Hootner has an active off-season schedule.

“The most important things are weight training, agility, cardio, ball handling, and shooting,” replied Hootner. “Players are made in the off-season, between March and August. We have 8 games in the summer and a class for 8-weeks in the summer that they will be involved in,” he added.

This season the Lady Olympians will miss a state playoff berth. However, Hootner is excited for the future of his team.

“This team has been an incredible group and I am very honored to have had the chance to coach them,” explained Hootner. “Five players will return next year. I look forward to watching them evolve between now and next year.”