Coach Trey Eder begins his ninth season at the helm of the Eads Girls’ Basketball program. He will be assisted this year by a very competent Justin McLoud. Last year, without nary a single senior on the team, Eder and the Lady Eagles took their mediocre 16-8 record to the 1A state tournament and made some noise up there after defeating two good teams in the Regional tournament including Holly (56-52) and Kim/Branson (34-29). The girls managed to play throughout the tournament losing in the consolation championship to Briggsdale in a close contest.
Eder is upbeat about this year’s team, “The Eads girls’ basketball team is looking to make another trip to the State Tournament. We return everyone except one that did not go out this year from last year. We have 3 seniors, 6 juniors, 4 sophomores, and 3 freshmen. With everyone returning we have lots of experience back who knows what it takes to make a return trip to State. We’re looking to get off to a good start to the season and be playing well going into the Holiday Tournament. That is always a terrific early season tournament to see where your team is at this early juncture.”
Expecting to lead the Lady Eagles this year are seniors Mariah Smith and Brenna Rouse. Smith, a 6’0 post player, led Eads in scoring last year averaging 10.6 points per game. She also pulled down the bulk of the Eagle rebounds with 195 to her credit. Rouse, at 5’8, plays out on the wing and must be respected for her ability to shoot the three. She led the team last year with 31 long balls. The senior averaged 6.3 points per game with her best attribute being her court awareness where she handed out 47 assists. A third senior, Madison Kelley, will be a key role player for Eder as she is a tough competitor and will get down on the blocks with the biggest of players causing problems for them with her aggressiveness.
The junior class is where the talent lies and they will be a huge part of Eads’ successes with their athleticism and enthusiasm. Miranda Mitchek, last year’s starting point guard, will bring her tough defense and ability to score to a new level this year. The junior averaged 9.5 points per game last year, second behind Smith, and led the team in steals and assists. Another junior who has grown in size and maturity over the year is 5’11 Kaylee Wilson who averaged 8.5 points per game and is a key 3-point shooter for Eads. However, this year Wilson may be a threat within the interior as her length and ability to score should be key for Eads. The rest of the juniors including Hadlie Rittgers, Lauren Spady, Emily Gyurman, and Reagen Johnson have all seen a lot of time on the court. Rittgers and Spady started for Eads last year on a number of occasions with each bringing their own contributions to the team.
The sophomores have some excellent athletes as well and this year they are expected to step up to the varsity level with strong contributions. They include Kaycee Ellenberger, Lauren Brown, Morgyn Johnson, and Cynthia Watson.
Finally, the freshmen will contribute right away, particularly Ally Spady who is turning out to have some excellent point guard skills. Other freshmen include Mollie Kelley and Colby Stoker, both who will see a lot of JV time down in the post area and who are aggressive players.
According to Eder, “The team has been working hard to get into basketball shape early in the season and embracing the changes that we as coaches feel we need to make to improve our team. We are doing some new things and the girls are picking up on them well.”
Eder adds, “With 16 girls on the roster, practice has been very competitive with everyone wanting to step up to the next level. We are looking forward to a great year and seeing the progress that we can make from game to game and throughout the year.”
Look for Eads to be a team in the hunt if they continue to develop as Eder hopes they do. The Lady Eagles will begin their season on a road trip to Walsh this Saturday with game time slated for 4:00 pm.