XENIA — First-year coach Kyle Gray would be the first to tell anyone that the 2015-‘16 Xenia High School girls basketball team remains a work in progress. And despite Wednesday night’s 60-40 loss to a veteran Vandalia Butler bunch, Gray will also point out that his Buccaneers are, indeed, making progress.
Gray’s Buccaneers scored more points than their season average of 36.1, and they gave up fewer points than their season average of 63.9.
“We had 11 turnovers for the game tonight, and that’s our lowest by a bunch,” Gray said. “We’ll work on fundamental shooting every day, but what we talked about in the locker room was just attention to detail and working on applying all the little fundamental drills that we didn’t do tonight. If we continue to have that attention to detail, over time our shooting is going to get better.”
A quick perusal of the gwocsports.com website would show that Xenia’s 11 turnovers was its best performance of the still-young season. In seven games, the team averaged 26.4 giveaways per contest. Aside from the team’s lone win over Springfield (14 turnovers), every other game had 18 or more turnovers.
More baby steps.
On Wednesday, Bre Burnette doubled her game scoring average to lead Xenia with 14 points. Only Vandalia Butler’s talented center Abby Grooms scored more with 17. Bucs teammate Cora Stevens finished just above her 7.4 points per game scoring average with nine against the Aviators.
Lizzie Abbott and Charlie Stone both came off the bench for Xenia and scored five points each.
Gray says there’s still plenty more steps for his team to take, but he’s encouraged by their progress.
“We’ve been working on how to defend the ball screen. Unfortunately, it took us probably until the third or fourth quarter to kinda figure out what we’ve been working on in practice. I mean, they’re making progress. But they don’t want to hear that right now — I really don’t want to hear that right now — but we also talked about how we probably couldn’t have scored 40 points three weeks ago,” Gray said. “We’re getting better. It’s just a process, but processes aren’t fun to go with. We live in an Internet age where we expect things immediately. So if we try something one day and it doesn’t work, it’s hard to stick with that.
“We’re getting to the point where we’re now able to make some small adjustments at times, something we weren’t able to do 3-4 weeks ago. But now when I try too much, we’re not quite ready for that.”
Butler (6-2), which returns to action Saturday at Sidney, began the contest with just a 15-10 lead after the first quarter, but by the end of the third quarter the Aves had a comfortable 20-point cushion. Grooms wasn’t the only Butler player in double figures. Brittney Petroskey scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, and Shelby Moses hit both of the team’s 3-pointers as part of a 10-point night.
Xenia (1-7) has a 1 p.m. Greater Western Ohio Conference, South Division battle Saturday at Lebanon, which will serve as the GWOC South division opener for both schools. The Bucs will then host neighboring foe Xenia Christian at 6 p.m. Dec. 22 in Xenia’s famed Blue Pit gymnasium.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.