Last season was difficult for the Winfield girls basketball team only because of a high number of injuries.

“Last year, in the whole program, we ended with five healthy girls,” head coach Tim Smith said. 

But this season, things are a little different.

“We have 21 out here this year. Quadrupling the numbers will help out,” Smith said.

The number of players available can and will make a huge difference in the team’s overall performance through several aspects of the game.

“Substitution patterns can be implemented. Just simplified schemes that work because we will have more energy on the court at all times. So the numbers, again, quadrupling, will be huge for us. We can look at last year, but it’s not even the same ball game,” Smith said.

He said that the freshman class is going to add healthily to the brunt of the roster along with lots of retuning players ready to pick up where they left off last season.

“We have a freshman class of at least 10 girls coming in. We have returning starters that actually started their freshman year,” Smith said.

Winfield’s injury problem last year was sort of a catch 22 in the fact that due to the injuries and low numbers, the girls that were playing were having to face more minutes than regular and then getting worn out or even injured themselves.

“This year we will be healthier because they won’t be overused and overworked and they will have time to let their bodies heal instead of having to play 32 minutes every single game,” Smith said. Smith’s system of play relies heavily on awareness of the flow of the game along with a strong understanding of the system.

“For us, it’s a lot of defensive switches, a lot of scheme switches. For the most part, we’ll play a little bit of man-to-man coverage, but we have a lot of different zones and we rotate them constantly. Also we don’t do a lot of timeouts: we do them in the scheme of the game so it’s honestly like hockey. We are always changing based on where the ball is. You can compare it to baseball too: we have four pitches. Instead of throwing a bunch of fastballs, we throw fastballs, curveballs, change-ups, sliders and we just keep changing so the batter doesn’t know what pitch is coming. That’s kind of what we try to do,” Smith said.

As far as any expectation for the season, Smith said he is most looking forward to having a complete team, which will allow for better chances.

“I’m excited to be way more competitive this year,” Smith said.

The first game is the rivalry game at Elsberry, which will be the first real test.

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