Evart girls basketball team opens season next Tuesday

EVART  — New Evart girls basketball coach Paul Higgins is ready to see what he’s got with his 2013-14 Wildcats who open the season next Tuesday at Farwell.

The home opener is Dec. 6 with Chippewa Hills.

Higgins started practices with his team on Nov. 11.

“They’ve been progressing nicely,” Higgins said. “The kids are trying to get the concepts that I’m trying to preach. They’re trying to learn each other. It’s been a fair transition so far.”

Higgins is looking for his team to play good solid defense.

“We can rebound the ball, hopefully, very well,” he said. “Offensively, we’ll run a basic motion offense and try to keep the floor spaced. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get out and run and get some transition baskets.”

Higgins has 11 players on his team which is an increase of about three from last season.

Sophomore Mara VanOrder, a post player and juniors Kristin Kullman at guard-forward and Tabby Turley at forward are key returnees from last season.

Higgins also has high hopes for guard Allysa Witbeck, a sophomore and Tina Fournier, a junior guard and senior post player Sabrina McKay.

“It’s nice to have these extra numbers,” Higgins said. “We’re not overly deep right now. We’ll have to rely on quickness and the proper position on the floor, whether it be on offense or defense.”

VanOrder will be counted upon for rebounding strength and inside power.

“Hopefully our other two returning guards can help out on the outside and open things up for the inside game,” Higgins said.

The Highland season starts on the road Tuesday Dec. 10 at McBain Northern Michigan Christian and Dec. 13 at Beal City. Higgins expects Beal City, McBain and Pine River to be among the top teams.

“The big thing will be the defensive end, try to limit our turnovers and take care of the ball offensively,” Higgins said, “and make those easy puppy shots layups and get to the foul-line.”