Not many Class 5A teams enter the girls basketball season without the benefit of seniors to help lead and guide the way.
But thus far, Keller is figuring out how to do just that.
In the early going of the season, the Lady Indians are 3-1 after dropping their first game to Grapevine but then reeling off three straight.
Keller will enter tournament play this week at Flower Mound and will face stiffer competition.
“At 3-1, we’re just trying to be patient,” Keller head coach Doug Sporrer said. “That’s sort of ironic, because we’re scoring a lot of points. I’ve been really pleased with our shooting percentage so far, and we’re selling that to the kids.”
In the opening loss to Grapevine, Keller scored its lowest point total thus far: 50. In wins over Burleson Centennial, Coppell and Prosper, the Lady Indians have scored 56, 51 and 61 points, respectively.
Alli Gribbin and Ryanne Johnson have led the way for Keller, each scoring in double figures with the exception of one game.
So, how is a team devoid of seniors doing it?
Among the squad, Sporrer said he has four juniors, one of whom is injured, five sophomores and two freshmen. Only four players return with substantial playing time from last year.
“A lot of that is the kids have played a lot during the summer,” Sporrer said. “We just want to focus on not getting too high and not getting too low. I harp to the kids that things might get low, so we just need to stay the course.”
The fact that ability, regardless of experience, is a common factor at Keller may play a role, as well.
“We have a lot of talent,” Sporrer said, “but figuring out everyone’s role and where everyone fits in is what we’re working on now. The prospects are good for us, but how to get through the bumps in the road is what we’re focusing on right now. We’re getting the kids ready.”
Sporrer said with the team’s well-rounded talent, they don’t need to rely on the three-point shot like that did last year. The Lady Indians are instead setting up the offense from transitions, cuts and drives to the basket in addition to rebounding.
“We’re a more conventional team,” Sporrer said of this year’s squad. “We’re pleased with where we are and we’re getting contributions from several kids that are stepping up.
Following the two tournaments prior to the district schedule which starts Dec. 10, Sporrer said he’ll have a better idea as to what type of team he has.
• Fossil Ridge, which has been front-loading its schedule with early tournaments, currently stands at 3-7. The Lady Panthers are coming off a close 44-42 loss to Granbury in the Justin Northwest Tournament. They were also victims of two close losses to Wichita Falls, 51-48, and 48-46. They travel to Fort Worth Christian on Friday before hosting Trinity on Tuesday.
• Central is also off to a slow start at 0-6, but looks to notch wins after hosting Irving Nimitz on Tuesday and Argyle on Friday. The Lady Chargers also host Frisco on Nov. 25, prior to the holiday break. Ashley Yarbrough poured in 25 points in the loss last week to Mineral Wells.
• Timber Creek has a win early in the year, as it stands at 1-8 after beating Brewer in the Rough Rider Invitational at Saginaw. Laniya Taylor led the Lady Falcons with 27 points in the win. They played at Grapevine Tuesday and will play at Fort Worth Southwest this Friday, then take on Fort Worth Christian at the American Airlines Center on Nov. 25.