KENDALLVILLE — Last season was another trying one for the East Noble girls. But with a lot of the young talent returning, the Knights hope to get back to some consistent winning.
After five consecutive winning seasons under coach DeAnn Booth, East Noble has won five and four games, respectively, in the last two years.
The Knights didn’t have senior on the roster last season, but had one junior and five sophomores appear in all 24 games in 2018-19.
“Our junior group played a lot of ball together, but they hadn’t played with some of the other kids. And we’re just starting to get into the flow of playing with the whole group and not just the juniors,” Booth said.
She said this group won quite a bit in middle school and had a lot of confidence coming into high school. But with back-to-back challenging seasons, some of that confidence has been lost.
“When they started as freshmen and sophomores, that’s been kind of draining for them a little bit,” Booth said. “I think this summer and through the fall here, we’re starting to gain some of that back. They’re starting to understand a lot more how the varsity game is played. They’re working hard with a lot of intensity and hopefully that carries over once we start playing games. It was pretty frustrating for them the last couple of years.”
Now junior Carly Turner is the team’s returning leading scorer and rebounder after she averaged 9.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Classmate Grace Patton scored 8.3 ppg and grabbed 4.6 rpg.
“Carly has really worked on her shot over the summer, and hopefully, she doesn’t revert back to the way she was before. She’s really fixed some things and she’s worked hard on that,” Booth said. “Grace, I think her understanding of the her size limitation inside, she has the ability to get inside some, but now when people are doubling team her, she’s looks to dish it off more than forcing it up.”
Kylie Garton, Anna Becker and Karly Kirkpatrick all averaged over five points per game last season as sophomores and are back this season. Rylee Cripe is the lone senior for the Knights.
Another junior Avan Beiswanger missed last season due to injury. She played in all 24 games as a freshman and averaged 6.3 ppg.
“She’s an incredibly quick, athletic guard for us and would’ve helped us tremendously last year,” Booth said.
New to East Noble is a transfer from Lakeland, Ella Lewin, who is a junior and will help spell Turner on the inside. Another junior, Kayla Desper, will have the same role as Lewin.
Sophomore Kyndal Mynhier is also expected to get some more varsity time this season and has improved this offseason, according to Booth.
The Knights scored 39 points per game last season as team, but gave up 53.5 per contest, which is the most under Booth.
“We have a lot of quickness. We don’t have much height, so we’re going to have to use that (speed) as much as we can to our advantage,” Booth said on defensive expectations. “We’ve added some depth, so hopefully we can press some and get some quick turnovers and quick baskets to get things rolling.”
Booth said her expectation level “has never wavered” and continues to be high every season.
“There are times where we’re going to be outmanned and outskilled,” Booth said. “But we should never be outworked or outhustled.”