The Woodstock girls are coming off of the best season of their history, in which they went 21-9, won the Region 5AAAAA tournament and took a trip to the second round of the state playoffs.
Now in Region 5AAAAAA, Crowe, rather than just hoping for a repeat performance, believes the Lady Wolverines can realistically expect to contend for a state title.
With four senior starters from last year’s team returning — the backcourt of Makensie Block and Clara Young, and the frontcourt of McKenzie Fortson and Brianna Lakes — Woodstock has shown it has the experience to make a postseason run.
To do that, Crowe said, it will have to succeed in pressing its opponents on the defensive end of the court to create scoring opportunities.
“We will have more of a transitional offense that is created by our defense,” said Crowe, who has coached the team since it first fielded a full varsity squad nine years ago. “The type of pressure defense we play is key to our offensive success. We want to force turnovers and make teams take bad shots.”
Also figuring into Crowe’s plans will be sophomore Jessica Alexander, freshman Kennedy Montgomery, junior Caroline Edwards and seniors Sara Graf and Sarah Aguirre.
With such a high ceiling this year, Crowe was quick to express her excitement.
“I couldn’t wait to get to our first day of practice,” Crowe said. “Winning is contagious, and now our girls know what it is like to win. We want to be in that state championship game.”
With only one winning season to their name, Woodstock’s boys have struggled to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the county since the school’s founding.
By raising the standards of how the team’s performance is judged, Richeson hopes to see evident improvement from his squad.
“We are trying to implement our motto of ‘doing more than expected,’” said Richeson, whose team is coming off of a 9-17 season. “We have to be a team that is disciplined and willing to do the little things to be successful.”
Rather than set a specific goal of reaching a win total or the playoffs, Richeson simply wants Woodstock to do what his motto says — more than expected.
With five players returning from last year, as well as the benefiting of an infusion of talent, Richeson expects the Wolverines to do just that.
“I’m very excited about this group,” Richeson said. “I think we have a chance to be really good. We are much further ahead than we were last year at this point.”
Potential starters for the Wolverines include junior guards Thomas Carroll, Chris Mowery and Jalen Hannah, senior forward Trey Alexander and senior center Matt Scott.
This will be Scott’s first season with the Wolverines, after he transferred from Furtah Prep.
Richeson has high hopes for Scott, the team’s tallest player at 6 feet, 8 inches.
“He will be one of the best players in the region,” Richeson said. “He has a great skill set. Expect him to have a big year for us.”
Also expected to be involved this year are freshmen Myles Scott, Preston Hurter and Ahmad Bratton.
Both of Woodstock’s squads will open their seasons Saturday at Blessed Trinity.