Any coach looks at their team’s jamboree for ways to improve before the regular season begins, and Perryville girls basketball coach Angela Fulton is no different. However Fulton was more interested in seeing just how her team would respond to live action, because frankly she had no idea.
“We’ve been practicing for a while and really didn’t know what to expect,” Fulton said. “We lost three starters and a lot of production and scoring from last season, but I thought that we played very well.”
The scoreboard would say that as well, as Perryville won five of the six quarters, they played against Chaffee and Jefferson R-7 in a three team jamboree on Tuesday at Perryville High School. The lone quarter Perryville did not come out on top was an 8-8 draw with Chaffee. Combining the six quarters the Pirates outscored their two opponents 62-24.
“That is a positive that we can take back to practice with us,” Fulton said.
The Pirates lost four seniors altogether from last season that saw the team win 16 games. But much of the production came from Kirstin Jannin, Sydney Spears, and Kirstin Steif, who set the school record for three pointers made.
With the loss of Steif, one of the areas that Fulton knows will be a point of emphasis this season will be the outside shooting. It took a while for the Pirates to come alive from the outside as they did not hit a three-pointer until the second quarter of play in their first scrimmage.
“Ciara Ehlers is going to be the girl that has to step up in that area and she knows it,” Fulton said.
Ehlers hit a total of four threes on the night as junior Leah Buerck added another against Jefferson.
Fulton is aware of her team’s inexperience as the Pirates have just two seniors, and at times had three freshmen on the court at the same time. But she gave each of the underclassmen this simple message on the first day of practice earlier this month.
“We just want to come out and play hard,” she said. “Ever since I became the coach here, that’s what I’ve been preaching to these girls. It doesn’t take too much to get after iit on defense and things like that, and with our number of underclassmen and things like that, it’s what we have to do to be competive in our games.”
That sentiment was in full force in the jamboree as Perryville spent most of its time in a press defense, and forced 17 turnovers in the 18- minute scrimmage with Jefferson. According to Fulton that type of defense is almost out of necessity.
“We are short, but quick,” she said. “We have to use that to our advantage this year and we really don’t want to sit back in a zone or something like that and get picked apart on rebounds, which is something that we will have trouble with this year and at time did tonight.”
But it was a good start for the Prates as they begin their regular season with the Fredericktown Tournament on December 2.
“I couldn’t be more excited for the season,” Fulton said. “This is my favorite time of the year.”