Evart basketball coach has impressive debut season

Kara Henry (with ball) was among Evart's top basketball players this season. (Herald-Review file photo)

Kara Henry (with ball) was among Evart's top basketball players this season. (Herald-Review file photo)

EVART -- A new era began for the Evart girls' basketball team in the 2019-20 season and a confident foundation was laid for the future.

It was Matthew Tiedt's first season as head coach of the Evart girls.

He said his team exceeded his overall expectations for the season.

"I preached all year to them about playing our best basketball come March and they really bought in," Tiedt said. "There are no nights off in the Highland (Conference), and when you take a couple of bad losses, it's easy to fold up -- they didn't."

Tiedt added that victories over Houghton Lake and McBain gave the Wildcat ladies a boost of confidence late in the season as the playoffs drew close.

As a team, Evart finished the season with a 12-10 overall record; they went 8-8 in Highland-Conference play.

The Wildcats took their season all the way to the District 72 championship game, where they saw their campaign come to a close with a loss to Hart.

Despite coming up just short of a district title, Tiedt said his team gained confidence going forward by going up against a talented Hart squad

"I felt like we were playing our best basketball down the stretch and wanted to accomplish something here that hadn't been done in a very long time," Tiedt said.

Going into Tiedt's second season, the Wildcats will be losing four seniors -- three of them members of the starting lineup (Kelsi Elder, Livia Hopkins, Kaylee Ladd and Madison Parish)

With three-fifths of the Evart starting lineup gone, next year could present more challenges and opportunities for various girls to step up and make themselves part of the equation.

"We've got some holes to fill losing three starters, but I think we have some pretty talented girls ready to fill them," Tiedt said.

Kara Henry, Mackenzie VanBuren, Kyleigh Burhans, Ryenn Baumgardner, Elizabeth Goodwin, and Kylie Dorn all return as seniors next year with two underclassmen, Addysen Gray, and Skylar Baumgardner who played significant minutes on the varsity squad this season.