When the players on the Saxony Lutheran girls team looks around everyone should look familiar. That’s because every player is back for the Lady Crusaders. That can be both good or bad thing for any coach, but Saxony Coach Sam Sides is only looking at the positives.
“It’s a blessing,” Sides said. “So hopefully we are better prepared and can make better use of our time. But every year is different. I’m a little different and they are a little different. Every year is a challenge even if you have the same people back. You have to deal with the circumstances you got. Every year is different is unique in that way.”
The Lady Crusaders finished last season 22-8 and lost to Whitfield in the Class 3 quarterfinals. Sides said he is really focusing on the intensity in practice and games that his veteran squad exhibits on a daily basis.
“We really struggled at times with that last season, but we are getting better,” Sides said. “We have to keep working to execute the offense. I put a lot of emphasis on practice because you can always get better and practice is where you start.”
While Sides is focusing on the game-by-game routine of the regular season, the Lady Crusaders will be defined by the postseason. After not having a single senior last season, they will return five seniors that have experienced many deep postseason runs, including five straight district titles.
“Seniors have that sense of leadership that you hope carries over in games and practices, so far they have shown that.”shown that.”
Saxony will return All-State guard Laurel Mueller, along with Maysn McWilliams and a post presence in Addison Buessink.
“We have great athletes,” Sides said. “Everyone has attributes that can help us. I have a good senior class and good underclassmen that can help us.” Saxony also will have Macey Smith, a transfer from Delta this season. She will not be eligible to play varsity until January.
“She is a relativity big guard that can shoot a little bit,” Sides said. We will have to see how everything shakes out through the season to see where we can fit her in.”
But Sides knows there is only one team that can beat them:
“There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to make a deep run,” he said. “Only we will hold ourselves back.”