Evart opens girls season Tuesday against Farwell

EVART — It’s the second season for coach Paul Higgins at Evart and the Wildcat girls basketball skipper has good inklings over his team’s prospects.

The season starts at home Dec. 2 against Farwell and continues at Chippewa Hills on Dec. 5. The Wildcats also have a streak of home games Dec. 15, 16 and 19 with Montabella, McBain NMC and Beal City in one week.

The schedule calls for seven games in December, prior to the holiday break.

“There’s a lot of progress made so far,” Higgins said. “There’s a totally different attitude with the kids.”

He has just about everyone back from last season including Kristen Kullman, Tabby Turley, Mara VanOrder, Courtney Lang and Tina Fournier.

“We have some experience coming back and we have some decent kids coming up from the JV level,” Higgins said. “I think it’s a 100 percent flip starting from last year to now. Work ethic has improved and their overall skill, I believe, has improved. From putting in the work during the summer, they’ve been dedicated to making the program better and themselves as individuals better.”

Higgins said team speed will be a strength.

“I would like to think that our experience, because we have three players in their third year of varsity basketball, hopefully that will be a strength for leadership,” he said.

Cutting down on turnovers and mental mistakes is a top priority for the Wildcats.

“That was a big downfall for us last year, the turnovers,” Higgins said. “That was a combination of not a lot of returning players, maybe a change of style they were trying to play. Overall with the work they put in during the summer, it’s night and day from last year.”

Most of the scorers from last year return for Evart.

“We’re really trying to push the basketball right now, more than what we were last year,” Higgins said. “I’m hoping to get easy buckets on layups. If we have to get to that half-court set, we have some capable people who can handle that load.”

It’s a 20-game season but the Wildcats are craving for a good start.

“With the kids we’ve got now this year, you have to get off on the right foot,” Higgins said. “Last year, we didn’t get off the right foot with injuries and other things that went on. It will key for us to get off and running.”