NTL GIRLS' BASKETBALL: NEB READY TO DEFEND THEIR TITLE
(2021-01-09)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
The Northeast Bradford girls’ basketball team was the surprise of last season.
They went undefeated in NTL Division-II play to claim the title, and, at one point, they ran off 16 wins in a row.
“Last year we really had a great team,” said coach Ben Beebe. “As a new coach, the girls really accepted the two of us together and we had a great season.”
The new coaching staff couldn’t have asked for a better first season as they went 19-7 overall and 14-1 in NTL play, their lone loss 42-34 to Athens.
However, they still feel they have unfinished business as they went 0-3 in the postseason.
“Hopefully, we know what we’re getting into now,” said Maisie Neuber. “We weren’t very experienced with that because the past couple of years we haven’t made it that far. Hopefully, we can make it that far again and go further in the future.”
They have a bright future as their lone senior this year is Lauryn Jones, who is excited to get onto the court. The sharp shooter averaged 11.7 points per game to go with 4.0 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game.
“Following a successful year last year, this year I am focusing on working as a team and taking it one game at a time in order to get us farther in districts,” she said.
First things first, though, as they have a division title to defend.
“Defending a title is something we are working hard at this season,” said Jones. “It gives us confidence and a goal we know we can achieve.”
They won’t have the luxury of anonymity as everybody will be after them. Canton returns four of their top five starters, while NP-Liberty had a young team a year ago as well. Sayre won’t be having a team while CV and Williamson look to rebuild.
“It’s definitely going to be hard,” said Neuber, who was a surprise player herself a year ago. “I’m not that sophomore that nobody knows about, but we have a lot of good talent coming up, so we just have to be team players.”
Neuber led the team at 13.7 points per game while grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game and nabbing another team high 3.4 steals per game with Jones, already one of the best shooters in the league, looking to grow the other parts of her game.
“Personally, I am working on my one-on-one defense and getting to the basket,” Jones said.
They lose two senior starters from a year ago, including some size inside with Vickie Rought, but they’re excited to bring back their spark plug freshmen Kayleigh Thoman and Alena Beebe.
Thoman averaged 5.0 points per game and 1.5 steals per game while Beebe had 3.0 points per game and 1.0 assists per game as both came off the bench.
“Being a more guard oriented team, we are looking to play in transition much more,” said Jones.
Beebe is on board with that, though, with how things have gone this off season, it might take them a little while to find their groove.
“We’re a little faster this year than we were last year, but with the whole mask thing, it’s getting them used to running at a high pace with these things on their face,” he said, noting that they will have to play with masks on. “I would like an up and down game, but we’ll adapt to whatever to win.”
Regardless, expect to see a different style out on the floor as they blend everybody in. With all the starts and stops during the off season - the start of winter sports have been pushed back twice now - different is the theme for the season.
“It’s unfortunate about the off season,” said Beebe. “But, granted, almost everybody has had the same situation.”
No matter what, though, the future looks bright for NEB as they look to return to their glory years of old under former coach Bob Moore.
“I would like to see us go far into districts and try to make a run at states,” Neuber said. “Hopefully, I see a lot of my younger teammates succeed as well.”
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