Boyer Valley first-year head girls’ basketball coach Cody Freland will inherit eight returning letterwinners with the 2022-23 season right around the corner.
Freland takes over the Lady Bulldog program from longtime head coach Larry Neilsen, who stepped away after 20 years and 220-plus victories due to a job change.
Under Neilsen a year ago, BV went 7-9 in the Rolling Valley Conference and 8-15 overall.
“I believe that we can be a very uptempo and scrappy team in terms of defense. With that, I think we will have the ability to beat a lot of teams in transition because of that,” commented Freland, who will joined on the bench by first-year assistant coach Tyler Sharp.
Among the eight returning letterwinners are two full-time starters from a year ago in 5-6 junior guard Lauren Malone and 5-6 junior guard Ava Ten Eyck.
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Malone averaged 6.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game a year ago.
She led the team with 12 three-point baskets, while dishing out 35 assists (1.6 p/g) and collecting 38 steals (1.7 p/g).
Ten Eyck averaged 6.5 points and 4.6 boards per contest last winter. She was second in steals with 68 and had 32 assists.
Other returning veterans back are 5-8 junior forward Jessica O’Day, 5-5 junior guard Abby Mandel, 5-4 sophomore guard Maria Puck, 5-9 sophomore forward Mariah Falkena, 5-9 sophomore forward-post player Kylie Kepford and 5-7 sophomore guard-forward Lily Bramley.
O’Day averaged 4.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game a year ago.
Falkena averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 boards per contest, while Puck tallied 2.2 points and grabbed 2.0 boards per contest last winter.
“My concern is having a lack of players willing to shoot with many of them not being allowed or having the skill. We struggle in catch-and-shoot opportunities,” Freland said.
“We’re not tall, so teams with height may give us issues,” the Lady Bulldog boss added.
Filling out BV’s varsity roster are 5-3 junior guard Zoey Yanak, 5-5 freshman guard Reese Miller, 5-6 freshman guard Mataya Bromert, 5-6 freshman guard Ava Klinker and 5-9 freshman forward Sylvia Sullivan.
Freland thinks his team can be near the top in this year’s RVC race.
“We can be a top team in the conference. Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton, CAM and Woodbine all will have good teams,” Freland said.
“I feel that the success from volleyball can translate into basketball. I believe that we can be an above .500 team and make a decent run come tournament time,” the Lady Bulldog boss noted.
18 — at Logan-Magnolia; 22 — at Maple Valley/A-O/CO-U; 29 — vs. Paton-Churdan
2 — at West Harrison; 6 — vs. Woodbine; 9 — at Glidden-Ralston; 15 — at Audubon; 16 — vs. CAM; 19 — vs. West Monona; 20 — at Exira/EH-K
3 — vs. Coon Rapids-Bayard; 6 — vs. Ar-We-Va; 10 — at Paton-Churdan; 13 — vs. West Harrison; 17 — at Woodbine; 20 — vs. Glidden-Ralston; 27 — at CAM; 31 — vs. Exira/EH-K
2 — vs. IKM-Manning; 3 — at Coon Rapids-Bayard; 6 — at Ar-We-Va