By Travis Smola
Towards the end of January, things were not looking good for the Lady Bulldogs basketball team. The team was 3-8 on January 20 after a 47-33 loss to Edwardsburg.
Not one to give up easily, head coach Jesse Vanabel decided to go back to some basics in practice, starting with a heavy emphasis on rebound drills. “We hammered the heck out of that,” Vanabel said. “That did turn around the season for us.”
That’s an understatement. Starting with Three Rivers on January 24, the girls rattled off seven straight wins; their record now sits at 10-10. The girls also started shooting better. Their shooting percentage went from 28 to 39 percent during the streak.
“That 11 percent makes all the difference in the world,” Vanabel said.
The win streak finally came to an end against Edwardsburg in a defensive struggle on the road. Points were extremely hard to come by in a tight contest. The girls also lost their game against Plainwell the following week, but considering where they were earlier in the year, it’s quite the turnaround.
Vanabel noted it’s always good to have your team on the rise in the second half of the season. And the girls are believers in the system. “They’re buying into what we’re doing,” Vanabel said.
The Lady Bulldogs begin tournament play in early March.