Consider it a sense of relief and thankfulness for Colleyville Heritage junior point guard Caitlyn Foster.
She’s completely healthy. She’s running the Lady Panthers offense with confidence. And this team has started the 2015-2016 season quickly.
Foster missed nearly the 2014-2015 season (CHHS went 19-14) with a torn ACL before she returned for the final three games. With an offseason to return to basketball playing condition, Foster isn’t fighting the stigma of whether her knee will hold.
“You can tell that she’s more confident just being able to move and cut,” Colleyville Heritage assistant Derrick Osborne said. “To go through that surgery and then come back is a long process. She’s our best athlete and best on-ball defender.”
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For now, Osborne is in charge of the program. Head coach Dianna Sager is dealing with a family illness. But Sager and Osborne have been in constant communication and Sager has followed her team’s play on Twitter.
Before this past Friday’s game at Crowley, the Lady Panthers were 4-2. They then played Mansfield Summit on Tuesday. So far, the defense has been pretty solid. Denton Ryan was held to 38 points while Plano West was held to 33. Osborne said this squad has strictly stuck to playing man.
“Some of it has to do with the opponents,” Osborne said. “But the other thing is that we only have nine on the varsity so we have to be careful how we use everybody.”
One of those sitting out is junior point guard Hannah Verdi, who tore her ACL in the late spring. Her return is unknown.
One of the primary options in the post is Ellie LaGrange. The 5-9 sophomore forward has been asked to be more of a rebounder and defend, Osborne said.
Gerlich Year 2
Sophomore Bryn Gerlich is off to another good start this season, averaging 22.2 points a game, including 29 in the Nov. 10 season opener against Flower Mound Marcus. But her play has changed to where she is playing anywhere from the shooting guard to the power forward. It depends on the matchup.
Her offense has also expanded by what she doesn’t do. Instead of feeling like she has to carry the weight of this team on her shoulders, she recognizes the other options.
“She’s played inside enough to where she is,” Osborne said. “Bryn is a more willing passer and not forcing as many shots. She’s getting more players involved.”
Grapevine changes schedule
Even though head coach Lindy Lombard’s team suffered heavy losses from the Region I quarterfinal team that went 32-3, Lombard didn’t flinch. She strengthened the Lady Mustangs’ schedule.
Instead of playing in three tournaments, Lombard switched to two and gained entry in the arduous Canyon Randall and Mansfield tournaments. Grapevine (2-1) is also playing Southlake Carroll on Tuesday.
“That was kind of the game plan by doing this,” Lombard said. “We won all three tournaments last year. But I think there’s something to be taken from these one-game experiences.”
The two returners are senior shooting guard Abby Sandy (5-7) and junior post Tatum Tellin (5-8). Tellin is averaging seven rebounds per game. But the dynamics of the offense could change with the addition of two talented freshmen in Symone Wesley (5-9) and Nicole Buhr (5-10).
“We’re busy integrating everybody but we are running mostly the same stuff we did last year,” Lombard said. “Symone and Nicole are great rebounders and will help us with the offense when they get more familiar.”