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Filling their shoes

Lady Indians set to start season without multiple key players from year prior

The 2019 Clarke Lady Indian girls basketball team. Pictured in front, from left: Alivia Bakley, Kelli McAfee and Meadow Cruickshank. In middle, from left: Astazia Watson, Josey Dunbar, Jasmin Walrad and Lily Arnold. In back, from left: Hailee Fry, Kiaya Dunbar, Tori White, Kaitlyn Halsband, Nicole Barnard, Katie Donaldson and Chailyn Beydler.
The 2019 Clarke Lady Indian girls basketball team. Pictured in front, from left: Alivia Bakley, Kelli McAfee and Meadow Cruickshank. In middle, from left: Astazia Watson, Josey Dunbar, Jasmin Walrad and Lily Arnold. In back, from left: Hailee Fry, Kiaya Dunbar, Tori White, Kaitlyn Halsband, Nicole Barnard, Katie Donaldson and Chailyn Beydler.

This year it’ll be a lot of new faces on the floor for Clarke girls basketball in the traditional maroon and white, but the new faces bring both excitement and hope for what could be a surprising season to opponents.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Clarke’s head coach Christa Stubbert. “We have a young group and don’t have any seniors, but we have a good junior class that is full of some leaders. Three of them have quite a lot of varsity experience, but it’ll definitely be a young team. I think we’ll be able to compete with a lot of the conference schools.”

The trio of experienced players include Kaitlyn Halsband, Tori White and Kiaya Dunbar, all of whom will be a part of a good sized junior class that also includes Nicole Barnard, Katie Donaldson and Hailee Fry.

Last season, Halsband was the leader of returning players in points per game with 3.7 (seniors Deseree Stubbe, Megan Linskens, Sarah Davis and Ashlynn Oehlert were the top scorers for Clarke). Halsband grabbed 66 rebounds and had 11 steals also.

White scored 3.4 per game, picking up 51 rebounds and 12 steals. She was also third on the team in blocks with 10.

With the season right around the corner, and much of the team still in the process of getting into basketball shape, the Indians are working on countering a pressure defense.

Being able to work against a tight defense is something Stubbert feels the team needs work on going into the season so teams don’t get on them early in games.

“We’ve been working on that quite a lot in practice,” said Stubbert. “I think our defense is going to need a lot of work, but we’ve had a good first week of practice and I’m excited to see what happens (this year).”

Missing a core group

The year prior Stubbe, Linskens, Davis and Oehlert were the lifeblood of the Lady Indian offense and defense.

Now, the team will have to figure out what to do in the wake of a 1,000-point scorer, all-conference player and 2019 Class 3A third team member in Stubbe, an all-conference first team player in Linskens and two honorable mentions for all-conference in Davis and Oehlert.

“We’ll definitely miss her (Stubbe) and her scoring abilities and her leadership,” said Stubbert. “All the seniors that graduated, they played a really important role for us. They’ll be missed, but I think we have some juniors and maybe even some sophomores and freshmen that can step in and fill some shoes.”

Stubbert expects Halsband, Dunbar and White to fill in for the 2019 class and to make an impact right away on the floor.

Stubbert also expects Dunbar’s younger sister Josie Dunbar to play some time.

The Indians will roster no seniors, but do not lack upperclassmen presence with six juniors. For underclassmen, the Lady Indians have five sophomores and four freshmen.

Clarke opens the season on the road against Martensdale-St. Marys Tuesday night. Tipoff comes at 6 p.m. Clarke will have its home opener Dec. 2 against Mount Ayr.

On how the team will attack the season and home opener, Stubbert feels time on the court will give her a better look as to what the team is capable of and what direction it’ll be in this season.

“Our first game before Thanksgiving break will give us a better picture of where we are (as a team),” said Stubbert.

Schedule

Dec. 2 – vs. Mount Ayr, 4:45 p.m.

Dec. 3 – at Stanton, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 6 – vs. Chariton, 6 p.m.

Dec. 10 – vs. Knoxville, 5 p.m.

Dec. 13 – at Eddybille-Blakesburg-Freemont, 5 p.m

Dec. 17 – at Albia, 5 p.m.

Dec. 20 – vs. Centerville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 7 – vs. Davs County, 5 p.m.

Jan. 11 – vs. Nodaway Valley, 4 p.m.

Jan. 13 – at Bedford, 6 p.m.

Jan. 14 – at Chariton, 5 p.m.

Jan. 17 – at Knoxville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 20 – vs. Creston, 6 p.m.

Jan. 21 – vs. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, 5 p.m.

Jan. 24 – vs. Albia, 5 p.m.

Jan. 27 – at Pleasantville, 4:45 p.m.

Jan. 28 – at Centerville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 31 – at Davis County, 5 p.m.

Feb. 6 – vs. Des Moines North, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 11 – at Central Decatur, 5 p.m.

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