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The Harvest Christian girls basketball team enjoyed the type of success last year that few first-year programs attain.
In the first year of IHSA-sanctioned play, the Lions went 17-11 and reached the Class 1A regional finals before losing to Westminster Christian.
“We didn’t have a super-tough schedule but we had a good year,” Harvest coach Kelly Friestad said. “I’m excited. We might have a sluggish start but as the season goes on I think we’ll have success.”
The Lions have only eight players, including a few with limited basketball experience, but the team figures to take advantage of its athleticism. Three of the girls played on Harvest’s volleyball team that reached the supersectional for the second straight year, including 6-2 junior center Sydney Doby, who averaged 16 points and 12.8 points last winter.
“She’s very athletic,” Friestad said. “Everybody knows about her.”
Friestad is hoping other players will step up and help Doby shoulder the load. Four other players return, including three starters: 5-8 sophomore guard/forward Morgan Lockwood, 5-5 sophomore point guard Kylee Knox and 5-5 junior guard Carol Kauffman. Annaliese Herman, a 5-7 guard, was first off the bench last season.
The newcomers are 5-10 senior forward Sarah Kott, who along with Doby and Kauffman played on the volleyball team, 5-7 junior forward Sydney Koonce and 6-1 power forward Rachel Oostdyk, who should complement Doby in the paint.
“She’s going to be a big factor,” Friestad said of Oostdyk. “It will be nice to have someone in the paint with Sydney. In the past we haven’t had that.”
The Lions, who hope to finish in the top three of the Northeastern Athletic Conference, travel to Paw Paw for the season opener on Nov. 20.