While the area awaits the start of KHSAA basketball, Heritage Christian Academy has already begun their respective seasons.
The Warriors opened their season on Friday night, whereas the Lady Warrior basketball team began its 2020-21 campaign on Monday night.
The girls opened the season with a loss to Clarksville Christian. HCA head coach Matt McGowan said his team fought hard in defeat.
“They were tough — they’ve had a good team at Clarksville Christian for several years,” McGowan said. “Our girls obviously didn’t compete from a scoring perspective, but they competed throughout the game and they worked hard. Probably not the best game to start the season with when you have girls with not a whole lot of experience in the frontcourt.
“I think they got better throughout the game and hopefully when we get some games in against the KCAA we should be able to compete with them.”
The main focus coming into the year has been the glass for the Lady Warriors, as they come in undersized even more so than they were a year ago.
“We were small last year — and all the height we had last year graduated,” McGowan said. “Really our biggest focus has been boxing out and rebounding because if we don’t get rebounds we’re not going to be in the game against anybody. I’ve got three forwards that are a bit undersized but rebound well for their size.
“We plan on pressing a lot and hopefully be able to take care of the ball and maximize our possessions.”
McGowan said he will lean on his two seniors, as well as a sophomore to handle the scoring load throughout the year.
“Abbi Bullock, and Kinley Deason — they’re my senior and along with Hallie Zieg who is a sophomore — those three should do most of our scoring,” he said. “Hallie is a solid scorer. She’s coming along really well. And of course, Abbi and Kinley have been around for a while and have a pretty good amount of experience.”
On the boys’ side, it has been a brighter note.
The Warriors opened the year with two wins, and while both wins saw the team turn the ball over a lot (38 turnovers in two games), McGowan is just happy to see them get off to a good start.
“Friday night, we were real sloppy,” McGowan said. “We let them hang around. We did put a run on them in the fourth quarter, but it was just sloppy all the way around. … Came out (Monday night) and we looked really good against a solid team that we split with last year. We had them down and we controlled pretty much the whole game.”
A year ago, this team was very inexperienced and it showed on, but now with a year in the books, it looks to be a new team wearing the HCA uniform.
“The core that we had come back took their lumps last year but they stayed positive all through last year which I was impressed with — they just kept working and working,” McGowan said. “They played good defense and that kept them in a lot of games. We just didn’t have that go-to guy last year. Around Christmas last year we kind of turned a corner. … They took their lumps but they learned how to win.
“It’s just a fun group to coach,” he said. “They’re fast, they play together really well. Unselfish players and they really do look for each other.”
McGowan said he has seen a lot of improvement from Zieg on the girl’s team and Tristan Folz for the Warriors. He anticipates big things from both of them this season.
“Tristan (Folz) has really improved for us,” he said. “He showed glimpses for us last year and I challenged him to put it together on a night-to-night basis as his older brother did for me. He has been so far this year.
“On the girls, Hallie has a lot of potential. She just needs to put it together and realize her potential. We’re looking forward to watching her grow and obviously, she’s going to be in a bigger role this year so we’re looking forward to her filling that role.”
Both teams will return to action on Dec. 1 against Lighthouse.