After two year void, Lady Eagles eager to return to hoop playoffs

Steinbecker gives program some needed stability

MILANO—The Milano Lady Eagles look to reach the post season after a two year absence and second year head coach Catrina Steinbecker will have to replace the loss of three seniors to do so.

Her se c - ond year at the helm is a long streak in recent years in the Milano girls’ program, as she is the fifth head coach in the past seven seasons.

“ Most of these girls have only been with me. I have only two seniors that have had more than two coaches,” Steinbecker said. “Each year you have to look at each group and see what works for them. It’s not always about what you want to run—it’s about what will work for them.”

Starters returning for the Lady Eagles are seniors Kelly Wadlington and Emily Overall, along with sophomore Keely LaGrone. Wadlington was a second team all-district pick last season and LaGrone an honorable mention.

Key returnees include junior Halle McManess and sophomore Alyssa Brooks. Top newcomers on the varsity roster include senior Amber O’Gilvie, sophomore Tera Arledge and junior Dominique Booker.

The three seniors lost to graduation were Raighley Shaw, Stonie Guthrie and Hayleigh LaGrone. Shaw was a second team all-district selection last season and Guthrie earned an honorable mention nod.

Steinbecker said that one of the challenges this season is the lack of practice time, but that is due to the girls she has in basketball are also good volleyball players.

“Due to volleyball success (the team reached the regional tournament for the first time in eight years), the girls basketball team does not get all of its players until mid-November,” she said. “ We have to come to practice every day with a sense of urgency because we are limited.”

Better terminology

Steinbecker added that the team’s strength is that the girls’ shooting and quickness has improved.

The team’s goal for the season is to just improve as a team.

“The greatest achievement we can make is playing as a team, not as individuals. As a team, we need to embrace our roles to become successful,” Steinbecker said. “ This is the second year in this system and we should be ahead with terminology. We should know more this year than last.”

District outlook

The Lady Eagles just missed out on the playoffs, finishing fourth in District 25A-I behind state semifinalist Snook, Iola and Somerville. The are picked to finish in that spot against this season. Milano finished ahead of Burton and Mumford last season and had a 9-18 overall record. Steinbecker knows this year will be just as hard to reach the postseason.

“ Snook has seen the state tourney and is a powerhouse. Iola will definitely be tougher this year. Somerville has always had a good group of girls. And you can’t count out Burton, they always have a good group of athletes,” Steinbecker said. Mumford didn’t field a girls’ team this season.

A playoff spot is something the Lady Eagles are striving for.

“We are not worried about a district title. We are going to play hard, smart and together,” Steinbecker said. “We will play our best and then the wins should take care of themselves.”

So far

The Lady Eagles are struggling a bit early in the new season as they are sitting at 1-3 overall. They were set to play at Cameron on Tuesday night and then at Rogers on Dec. 3.

Thrall 42, Milano 32

MILANO (1-3)—Kelly Wadlington 8, Alyssa Brooks 9, Keely LaGrone 1, Tera Arledge 8, Amber O’Gilvie 5, Emily Overall 1.

THRALL— M. Denkeler 8, T. Elliott 2, L. Alderte 2, C. Seggern 11, A. Holder 2, K. Faykus 9, E. Ochoa 4, H. Couch 4. Milano 38813—32 Thrall 881115—15

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