By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg Lady Bulldogs basketball team is in good position heading in the winter break with a 4-2 record. The Bulldogs’ 2017-18 campaign was a bit rough, but things are definitely looking up this season.
“As a coach all you can do is hope that your team is prepared and that they play hard,” new Head Coach Tim Kirby said after a 42-34 loss to Otsego. “You know, that’s a team that beat us by 40 last year.”
Sophomores Hannah Vallier and Brady Brown led the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs with eight points each against Otsego. “I’m just proud of my girls,” Kirby said. “I told them there is nothing to be ashamed of. We just played a really good basketball team.”
The team’s victories so far this year have been against Paw Paw, Allegan and Portage Northern. Kirby said the game against Portage Northern was an ugly one, but the Lady Bulldogs came out on top 26-19. Sophomore Chloe Hatridge led the scoring against the Huskies with nine. Junior Kelsey Diekman had six. Sophomore Allyson Naster and senior Madeleine Geiger had four and Vallier had three.
Kirby said they will work on some small things on defense, but other than that he says they will keep working on moving and sharing the ball. “I’ve got a group of girls that really plays hard together and wants to play for one another,” Kirby said. “I feel like we shared the ball tonight and we’re going to keep working on that.”
This is Kirby’s first year as the head coach of the team. He served as the assistant coach for the last three years. He is a familiar face around Vicksburg’s athletic fields as he also helps coach the football and softball teams.
“I’m just excited to have the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time after being an assistant for so many years for different sports,” Kirby said. “It was really cool when the job opened up; all the girls came to me and asked me to take it over. That kind of re-affirms you that they want you to be a part of it.
Right before the holiday break, the girls downed Sturgis in a 51-36 rout. The three leading scorers were Vallier, Hatridge and Diekman with 14, 11 and 8 respectively.
“I’m blessed with a good group of girls. They keep me young every night while taking years off my life sometimes too,” Kirby joked. “But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”