Let’s be honest, the season hasn’t exactly gone the way the Lady Braves would have of hoped prior to the start of the season.
With only four games remaining in the regular season, the program is currently 6-15 overall and 1-7 in conference play. Despite the losing record, the team remains confident they can finish the season strong just in time for the playoffs.
The Achilles heel for coach Danielle Osterhaus and the Lady Braves this season has simply been not being able to finish games late.
The team has loss nine games this year by ten points or less, so it’s not too farfetched to believe the Lady Braves are closer to turning the program around in a positive direction than their current record suggests they are.
“Right now we’re trying to get our ladies to focus on finishing games and wanting that win,” said coach Osterhaus. “We literally are just a couple baskets and a couple plays away from finishing these games with a win.”
This program isn’t in the business of making excuses for misfortunes, but from an outsider’s perspective, one can’t overlook the adversity this team has dealt with this season.
For instance, the program loss their starting point guard Makaylin Bent, for the season, when she suffered an ACL tear back in late September.
Losing a starting point guard is catastrophic for any team to endure, especially for a team who has only three returning players from last year’s roster.
The point guard position basically serves as the commander in chief for an offense, and not having continuity at that position can be detrimental for a team’s ability to progress offensively.
In addition, starting guard Shelby Adams, suffered a torn labrum in her shoulder earlier this year, which unfortunately ended her season as well.
According to coach Osterhaus, Adam’s was one of the better defenders on the roster, and she also brought speed to the team as well.
Between Bent and Adams, the team loss two important pieces to their roster, whom they were counting on to contribute on a consistent basis this year.
However, let’s make it clear, the Lady Braves are not complaining about injuries, this program understands that injuries are just an unfortunate part of the game.
Despite a sub-par record, this program continues to stay positive, and rather than worrying about the past, the Lady Braves are only concerning themselves with finishing the season on a positive note.
In order to finish strong, the Lady Braves will look to build on some of the positive aspects of their team.
For example, the team is averaging 31 rebounds per game this year, which is beneficial for any team when they can limit their opponent’s offensive possessions with defensive boards as well as creating second chances on the offensive side with offensive boards.
The Lady Braves have also been efficient from the free throw line this season. The team is currently shooting 60% from the charity line. However, they are currently only converting on 35% of their field goal attempts, which is something the team continues to work on improving at during practices.
Overall, the best aspect of the Lady Braves this year is their leadership on the floor. A positive attitude can be extremely contagious, and sophomore Rayven Morrow, who is a team captain, displays this type of behavior on consistent basis.
With the playoffs just around the corner, coach Osterhaus continues to remind her team that the most important thing for a team is not their record but how they finish the season.
Osterhaus also points out, that when a team wins the Regional Tournament their overall record doesn’t get stitched into the championship banner.
Rayven Morrow has embraced her coach’s message, and she would like nothing better than to finish her career at Black Hawk with some hardware.
Morrow understands that in order to compete for a title, the program still has a lot of work ahead of them, but she looks forward to taking on the difficult challenge with her teammates in hopes they can put it all together when it matters most.
“I just hope we can put it all together and all get on one page,” said Morrow. “We have to be consistent and just block out everything that’s happened during the season.
Last Tuesday night, the Lady Braves hosted their rivals the Black Hawk East Warriors, in the second meeting for the two teams this season.
The Lady Braves fell to the Warriors earlier in the season, but the girls would get redemption the second time around as they defeated the Warriors 64-61. Unfortunately, the Lady Braves fell to Carl Sandburg two nights later as they were defeated 54-39.
The Lady Braves have three games remaining on the season, including two conference games against Illinois Valley and Kishwaukee College. The team will then enter the post season, which begins in early March, in hopes of bringing a championship back to Black Hawk.
Written by Ryan Prochaska