By Cliff Hickman
Repository Sports Writer
Few teams in the Federal League will come into the season with more experience than the Lake girls basketball team. The Blue Streaks have nine players from last season returning as seniors for the 2013-14 campaign.
That experience, along with a mix of talents, has Lake head coach Henry Cobb optimistic as the season begins.
“I was telling one of my assistant coaches the other day that we don’t have that super five-star player,” Cobb said. “What we have is four or five four-star players. It’s going to be a balanced team.”
Lake did lose some key players to graduation — notably McKenna Stephens and Miranda Diesz — so there are some key roles to fill.
“McKenna finished her career in the top five in scoring,” Cobb said. “We are going to miss both of them this season.”
But the entire focus is on who is back to fill those roles, and there’s lots to like, starting with Baylen Dyrlund, who scored 12 points per game last season.
“She’s also a very good rebounder,” Cobb said. “She is a very tough player. I think she has to be prepared for teams trying to isolate her this year with McKenna gone. She will be one of our starters in the post.”
Dyrlund will be backed by another returning player in the post — Kelsey Bryte.
“She was our seventh or eighth man off the bench last season,” Cobb said. “She has had a very good three weeks so far. She’s coming in after playing volleyball and is not quite in basketball shape yet. I think once she gets there she is going to be very good for us.”
Dyrlund and Bryte will have plenty of veteran help.
“Andrea Maag is also back with us this season,” Cobb said. “She is a four-year letterwinner. Bree Libby is back and she is a three-year letterwinner. We have a very experienced team.”
Lake’s depth will be a big help once the Federal League portion of the schedule begins. The conference should be as competitive as ever, with defending district and league champion Hoover looking as strong again.
“It’s a tough league,” Cobb said. “McKinley and Hoover are always tough. I don’t think those are the only teams you have to worry about this year, though. I think Jackson and GlenOak are also going to be very good teams this year.
“The league schedule is going to be a true meatgrinder. I think whoever wins the league this year may have two losses.”