Leading up to the high school basketball season, the Branson Tri-Lakes News will preview the upcoming basketball seasons.
Not only are the Reeds Spring Lady Wolves having to adjust to the constant changes COVID-19 is throwing at them, they are also adapting to having a new coach.
Luckily, head coach Jessica McNichols isn’t entirely new to the program. McNichols was an assistant at Reeds Spring before heading to Lockwood High School. She’s returned to some familiar faces, like senior Sydney Sanders and junior Jade Watson.
“The girl that’s gonna have the ball in her hands a lot of time is going to be Jade Watson, she’s going to be leading us on defense, as well as handling a lot of ball-handling responsibilities,” McNichols said.
Sanders is looking forward to being coached by McNichols because of her intensity.
“She definitely pushes us to be our best all the time,” Sanders said.
However, the Lady Wolves are already struggling with quarantine orders. Earlier this week, a good portion of the team was missing due to injury or quarantine. While everyone is scheduled to be back before their first game on Monday, there’s still the knowledge that any game could be canceled in an instant.
“I think this year more than ever before, we’re just realizing that things are out of our control, and we’re just trying to adapt and do our best to communicate clearly with our kids and our parents,” McNichols said.
Sanders said the team has worked to keep each other accountable when it comes to wearing masks and social distancing.
“We’re not just thinking about ourselves,” Sanders said. “We’re thinking about our team as a whole and the fact that we want to play.”
The focus is on basketball and making sure everyone will be able to play all this full season. With this being McNichols’ first year, there’s going to be more of a focus on laying the foundation for the following years.
“We want to be as consistent as we can and have a really strong foundation then branch off that,” McNichols said.
Watson and fellow junior Lexi Essick will be leading scorers for McNichols this year. Essick missed her first two years of high school basketball with an injury. She said she’s happy to be back on the court and playing with her teammates.
The Lady Wolves start their season against Sparta at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, at home.
Reeds Spring Girls Basketball Schedule
Nov. 23 vs. Sparta
Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at Blue Eye Invitational
Dec. 7 at Forsyth
Dec. 14 at Crane
Dec. 17 vs. Hillcrest
Dec. 21 vs. Cassville
Dec. 26-30 at 7th Annual Southwest Girls Holiday Tournament
Jan. 7 vs. Springfield Catholic
Jan. 11 at Miller
Jan. 14 vs. Blue Eye
Jan. 18 vs. Mansfield
Jan. 21-23 at Galena Tournament
Jan. 28 vs. Hollister
Feb. 1 vs. Marshfield
Feb. 4 at Mt. Vernon
Feb. 8 at Logan-Rogersville
Feb. 11 at Aurora
Feb. 18 vs. Monett