Summer no off season for WNHS girls basketball
The summer was a busy one for the members of the Woodstock North High School girls basketball program. Not only did they compete in 52 games, 36 for the varsity team and 16 for the sophomore team, but they also had to learn a new offensive system.
WNHS head coach Mike Lewis installed a dribble-drive motion offense at the beginning of the summer program that started June 4. The team spent the first week learning the new offense and then started competing in the Dundee-Crown summer league the following week.
Lewis attended a coaching clinic and heard the head boys coach from Oakland University discuss the dribble- drive offense, and he came away very impressed.
“A couple of years ago … we ran a lot of triangle offense. Last year, we ran more of a one-four guard style offense. … I think it opens up a lot more for our team. We have speed and can shoot the ball. We don’t have a huge center that is going to post up so it allows a lot more movement for our players.”
Lewis said the offense has set plays, which are called by him or his point guard, senior Aleecia Braun, depending on the defense of the other team.
“Aleecia is very fast and very smart,” Lewis said. “She is probably the smartest player I have ever coached. It really helps in this offense if you have a smart point guard.”
“I really like our offense,” said Braun. “It’s really easy to keep moving and open looks are everywhere.”
The offense is designed also to take advantage of the team’s speed.
“When teams try to play man-to-man against us, I think it really opens up a lot because other teams may have one or two players as fast as our players, but five to five on the floor, I don’t think we will play many teams that are as fast as us,” Lewis said. “It opens up possibilities for us to use our speed. With our press and up-tempo pace, it puts us in a good position. We’re not looking to slow anything down.”
The varsity team, with 15 players, started off slowly in the Dundee-Crown league with a record of 6-10, but then won 18 of the next 20 games to finish 24-12. The sophomore team, with 13 freshmen and sophomores, finished their summer league 9-7. Lewis said the teams usually finish around .500 every year in the league.
“We were really successful,” said Braun. “I feel like we really showed our strengths and weaknesses, and I feel we will progress into the season.”
Lewis said he was very happy with how quickly the team picked up the new offense.
“We only had a few days to work on the offense, and I thought we did a really good job of progressing throughout the summer,” Lewis said.
Lewis has five players from last year that logged considerable playing time returning this fall – seniors Emma Everly, Sami Ahr, Kaitlin Chamberlain and Braun, and junior Samantha Abbate – and he said he is excited to see what the basketball season will bring.
“I’m really excited about it,” Lewis said. “I get excited every year, but I am extra-excited this year. I think a lot of that has to do with the positive attitudes that the players are showing. They are hoping and expecting positive things to come from this season, and it is rubbing off on me.”
Braun said she believes the team is ready to have a great season.
“I think our team is really good,” Braun said. “We play really well together, and I think we’ll have a great season.”