Bears looking strong

Girls solid despite losing key players

Taylor Elder takes a shot during the Dolores Lady Bears practice.


The jerseys will look familiar, but the faces will look different.

Coming off a season in which they finished 15-7, the Dolores High School girls' basketball team is hoping to again be competitive, albeit without the help of four key seniors who were lost to graduation.

SENIOR LEADER, KEY SOPHOMORES LOOKING TO STEP UP

Looking to fill the void left by Lexi Atkinson, Cydney McHenry, Mindy McCracken and Sam Tate will be senior Brianna Schwartz, a talented athlete and big time leader.

Coming off a junior season in which she averaged five points per game, Schwartz will look to energize the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

"(Schwartz) is a heck of a player and quite an athlete," said Bears' head coach Tim Kercher. "She was our defensive stopper last year and she's a leader by example. "

Hoping to compliment Schwartz with skill and intensity will be a trio of sophomores composed of Nicole Kibel, Larrissa Umberger and Oliva Wright, who, according to Kercher, have been improving every day.

"We hope to mesh together as a team," said Umberger. "Lots of us have played together since about sixth grade."

BEARS UTILIZE

QUICKNESS

A somewhat small team, the Bears hope their quickness translates into fast- break opportunities, which in turn, translate into points.

"We're not going to outsize anybody this year, but we are going to run as much as we can," said Kercher.

With their running game in mind, the Bears will utilize a high-pressure man defense in hopes of creating turnovers and stymying offensive attacks.

"Right now, we're playing man," explained Kercher. "It's the best way to teach the girls how to play defense."

BEARS HOPING

TO COMPETE

With a schedule matching them against some of the area's toughest teams, the Bears figured to be challenged, yet there is little reason to believe that the team cannot be competitive.

Highlighting the schedule will be a matchup at Mancos on Dec. 20 and one at the Bluejays on Feb. 22.

Clearly looking forward to the season, Umberger took a moment to discuss what makes playing basketball in Dolores so special.

"I really like being a Bear," said Umberger. "Everyone knows everyone, everyone get along and everyone supports one another."

Definitely a winning formula that promises to make for an exciting 2013-14 girls' basketball season in Dolores.