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Girls ready to take next step

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By Dan Johnson

About the only thing that’s changed for the Evergreen girls basketball team is the last name of its head coach.

Ali Johnston is now Ali Meyers after getting married over the summer. With almost her entire roster back from last season, Meyers is excited about the team’s chances.

“I can already see that the girls are much more consistent,” said Meyers, whose team went 14-11 last year and were knocked out of the Class 4A state tournament in the second round. “There aren’t as many ups and downs. I can push the girls harder and I know what each kid can do.”

Because she has so much experience back, Meyers has been able to implement more plays into the mix this season.

“I’ve probably added more plays already this year than in the past couple of years,” Meyers said. “We are really going to look to push the ball up the floor. Our halfcourt game will be very diverse as we can go inside and outside.”

Guards Hayley Stading and Grace Beaudin will control the perimeter, while in the paint, Jordan Florschuetz, Halle Johnson and Steph Wiens will all get touches. Tayler Warren and Bryn Haebe will see minutes off the bench and both are capable of scoring from 3-point range.

Beaudin led the team in scoring last year and Meyers said she wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case again.

“Grace does embrace the scoring role,” Meyers said. “What’s nice this year is that it’s not all on her shoulders. She has more help and if the other girls step up, that will just free her up for more looks.”

The Jefferson County League race is shaping up to be a two-team battle between Conifer and Centaurus, both of which return plenty of talent from a year ago. Meyers thinks her Cougars have a chance to make a bit of noise if they play up to their potential.

“Last year we were young and inexperienced,” Meyers said. “I think the girls learned a lot and really matured by the end of the year last year. Hopefully that carries over to this year and if we play hard, play smart and play together, anything can happen.”