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  • Eads Girls a Combo of youth and Experience
EADS GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM 2022-2023 - (Back row l to r) Samantha Courkamp, Lexi Shotton, Tailee Weeks-Johnson, Kara Wilson (front row l to r) Alessandra Paez, Lisi Buller, Madison McDowell (not pictured) Katie Johnson.

Eads Girls a Combo of youth and Experience

By Betsy Barnett

November 23, 2022

It was not the usual quality season for the Eads Girls’ Basketball program a year ago as they suffered through a dismal 4-16 record and finished in the cellar of the Hi-Plains League with a 0-5 record.

They were a very young team a year ago with only one senior, Rhealie Rittgers, who played with a big heart and a bum knee throughout the season scoring nearly half of the team’s 20.2 ppg.

But it is a new season as head coach Trey Eder is in his 14th year at the helm of the Eads Girls’ Basketball program and is seeing this season as the start of a long run of success for the Lady Eagles.

They return four starters from last year’s team, all but one who are young, but experienced.

The sole returning senior is Samantha Courkamp who has been a starter since she was a freshman playing utility roles as an outside shooter, point guard, defensive player, and even a rebounder at 5’ 4”. She knows the system and will be able to aptly lead the underclassmen this year.

The only other senior that came out this year is Lisi Buller who had the unfortunate luck of severely tearing her ACL during the very first basketball practice last year. She’s made it through a number of practices already after having a solid volleyball season. Although she’ll lack in some experience within the system, Buller is aggressive and likes a challenge and has played basketball in her younger years. She’ll be a good help down low at 5’ 8”.

Eder has found another positive to build upon, “We will be bigger this year than we have in the last few years. We will need that to become a strength. Also, a big strength will be our depth. We only have 8 but our eight girls are high quality players and can all play multiple positions.”

Besides Courkamp the other returning starters are junior guard Madison McDowell who led this group in scoring a year ago with 5.6 ppg; junior forward Katie Johnson (4.1 ppg; 2.9 rpg); and sophomore guard Alessandra Paez (2.9 ppg; 2.9 rpg).

Eder also has high expectations for his three freshmen who come from a successful junior high program that lost less than 5 games throughout the last three years. They include forward Kara Wilson; forward/guard Tailee Weeks-Johnson; and forward Lexi Shotton. All three are strong athletes and have played quite a bit of basketball within the system despite their tender years.

Eder knows this season is still going to be a struggle, of sorts, but he sees it as a vital year and a building year for what is coming.

“We only have 8 players this year so the expectations will be high. All will be called upon to carry major roles and be moved around positions as the game goes on. We will need our upper classmen to help us out especially early on to lead and direct us on the floor while the freshmen gain crucial time and experience.”

Eder says they have mostly been working on ball-handling and decision-making skills—both of which must improve. “We turned the ball over too much last year, and we will have to improve that. We also need to become a better shooting team this year as well and have both an inside and outside threat.”

Eder points out that the Hi-Plains League and the District that also includes an athletic group from Wiley is going to be one of the toughest in the state. “Most of the teams have key returners coming back. I think the team to beat though is McClave. They have a good core returning and made a State Tournament appearance and that will help them out for sure. Kit Carson will be good and have good size that will be tough to deal with and Cheyenne Wells has youth that gained tons of experience last year and they have a ton of speed returning.”

Right now, Eder and his girls are focused on starting the season successfully. A year ago, they started with a 0-6 record and only had one win (the last day of the Lamar Holiday Basketball Tournament) in the pre-season before the Christmas break. That was a difficult start to overcome.

Eads starts things off with a game against Hi-Plains on December 2nd. Then it is off to be challenged as the Lady Eagles enter the Border Wars in Kansas and then the HBT in Lamar on December 15-17th.

Eder finishes by saying, “We are going to be young and have to have a short learning curve as our Freshmen will be called upon to step up right away. We need to find our identity quick and build upon that. We need to keep ourselves in games and give ourselves a chance down the stretch of games to win. I think we are going to be better as our young freshmen are as good as any freshmen around and they are ready to play. Our junior and seniors have a lot of experience and know what it takes to win and have started and been key pieces for many years. So, it will take a combination of our youth and experience to lead and get us into positions to win games and be in contention at the District tournament.”

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