Returning Lady Mavericks Head Coach Staci Derstein says her team of scrappy basketball players might surprise some opponents.

Returning Lady Mavericks Head Coach Staci Derstein says her team of scrappy basketball players might surprise some opponents.

“This team is as quick as any team I’ve coached,” said Derstein. “I’ve coached some teams that had taller girls, some with 5’11” starters. This team is different, we’re going to play at a more up-tempo pace. We’re going to use our athleticism. We’re going to try and get the team out of what they want to do.”

The Lady Mavericks, who will enter Tuesday’s road game against Fairfield with a (3-3) record in their first six games, is made up of a handful of returning seniors as well as some incoming talent from last season’s junior varsity team.

“We have five good seniors, I think they will all contribute, Angela [Liggett], Halie [Headrick] have been starters so they’ll be solid. My other seniors are good, smart, athletic kids. They work hard. They will have big roles on the team this season. McKenzie [Rose] is going to do some good things. She’s playing varsity and junior varsity. She’ll continue to improve and she has the potential to make an impact at a varsity level.”

Derstein said that it was difficult to single out players, especially on a team sport that requires all of her players to contribute. “I think they are all going to do well,” she added.

Liggett, Headrick, as well as Dena Liggett, Riann Heft and other players were part of the Lady Maverick volleyball team that competed at sub-state volleyball. Derstein was asked if she had seen any fatigue from volleyball starters.

“No. They had a couple of weeks off. They are athletic and in good shape. I think because many of them played volleyball, it’s an asset to us when we start basketball.”

She said by the time players begin practices they are limber and warmed up from the volleyball season. 

An obstacle for her team is height. Sarah Spicer, a 5’11” sophomore is the tallest player on the team, while Heather Melton, a 5’9” junior (and Lady Mavericks Volleyball All-Star) is the tallest starter.

“We are not tall,” she acknowledged. “We’ll press and trap and try to push the ball up the court and try to take the other teams’ bigger girls out of the equation. Our girls jump well; we negate some height because our girls are very athletic. As long as they are willing to use their hustle and quickness, our lack of height doesn’t kill us. On those nights when we are playing a team, with the 6’2” girl, you bet we’ve got to get creative.”

Derstein, like men’s Maverick Head Coach Nick Perez, sees a tough schedule down the stretch, but is optimistic about her team’s chances to compete at the state level.

“We have a tough schedule, it’ll be a fun season. Teams will challenge us. [At the end of the season] I hope we’re hanging a banner in the gym. I think we are a sleeper [team] that people are not taking as seriously as they should I think we can be in that last game of sub-state with a chance to go to the state tournament. I think that’s possible.”

This first appeared in the Dec. 19, 2012 print edition of The Kiowa County Signal.