By Chris Chaney
The Goshen Lady Warriors had a difficult start to their 2012-13 campaign, losing their first nine games of the season. However, the slow start forced the team to refocus and reassess its goals, preparing them for a strong finish to the regular season.
Under head coach Dave Mason, the Lady Warriors have kept their intensity up through the tumultuous start, never succumbing to negative thinking and working hard to get their record as close to .500 as possible.
At 4-13 overall and 0-7 in the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division, Goshen is making sure that they are not an overlooked team, using their full-court pressure and outside shooting as a way to catch teams off guard.
Following their 0-9 start, the Lady Warriors went 4-1 over their next five games, playing more consistent defense, allowing their opponents to top 40 points just twice since Dec. 22.
Although the team has a solid mix of experience, it is the underclassmen who have been leading the way for the Lady Warriors.
The team’s three leading scorers – Kayla Miller, Courtney Turner and Brittany Clark – are all sophomores. Miller, who leads the team with 9.2 points per game, also averages two rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Turner and Clark both do their part aside from scoring as well. Turner averages 7.6 points per game, but also 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals. Clark, who scores at a 5.3 point per game clip, leads the team in rebounds, bringing down 4.6 boards per contest.
A fairly deep team, Goshen has seven players who average three points per game or higher. Mason runs out a solid rotation of girls that can go as deep as 10 players a night.
Lacking a go-to big man, the Lady Warriors rely on in-your-face pressure, implementing a full-court press after made baskets and dead balls. Usually, Goshen falls back into a packed two-three zone, forcing their opponents to beat them with jump shots and making it difficult for them to get to the basket.
With the end of the season in sight, the Lady Warriors are concentrating on getting the most out of their final two weeks of the season.
While they are too far back to contend for an SBC title, they have proven to be a very real threat to dismantle a fellow team’s ambition to capture the league championship.
Three of their final four games pit them against conference opponents, allowing them to play the role of spoiler for a team that may overlook them. Their biggest opportunity to create a stir could be on the final night of their regular season, Thursday, Feb. 7, when they travel to Norwood.
The Lady Indians currently sit a game behind Western Brown in the standings and need to win out and get some help to grab a share of the league title. A loss to Goshen could cost them that chance.
However, for the Lady Warriors, their focus is solely on their next opponent, which is Bethel-Tate on Jan. 31.
The Lady Tigers beat Goshen by 12 points on Dec. 6, but the Lady Warriors will be looking to knock off Bethel for their first win of the conference season on Senior Night at Goshen.
The Lady Warriors will need to put their conditioning to good use as they will complete their season by playing a flurry of games – four in eight days – beginning with the game against Bethel and culminating with their potential spoiler matchup with Norwood.
In between those two games, the Lady Warriors will play at Amelia on Feb. 2 and at Hillsboro on Feb. 4.