(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Coming off an 8-14 season, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs basketball program will enter the upcoming school year with a new coach at the helm as Matt Schonoff takes over.
"Obviously I'm really excited about it," Schonoff said. "The opportunity to coach at a Class 4 school like Sikeston brings a great opportunity and a really good challenge getting to play against the schools that we play against.
"From a coaching stand point it's a good deal."
Schonoff replaces former coach Homer Jackson who retired after three seasons of coaching the Lady Bulldogs.
Schonoff comes to the girls program after serving as an assistant with the Sikeston boy's team last season when the Bulldogs went 21-4.
Prior to that, Schonoff served as head boys basketball coach for East Prairie for three seasons from 2006-2009 guiding the Eagles to a combined 34-39 record.
Schonoff said he's excited with the crop of girls he's inherited in his first year.
"They're good girls," he said. "The last couple of weeks they've worked hard and they're starting to learn what we're trying to do and trying to accomplish. We've had a good start so we're really excited.
"Our core is mostly all juniors. They've been starters since their freshman year. They've taken their lumps so we're going to try to take the lumps that they took and the lessons that they've learned and turn them in to wins."
The Lady Bulldogs will return two of their leading scorers from last year in juniors Asia Liggins and Keyonna Blissett.
Liggins led the team last year averaging 18 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game while Blissett averaged 7.8 points per game, four steals and four rebounds.
With the girls having to adjust to a new style of play Schonoff said he has two main goals for his first season.
"These girls have lost the past two years," he said. "They're wanting to win so obviously winning is one goal.
"The other goal is teaching the game of basketball the way the we know it and instill in them the way that we want it played. If we can take that and the girls go out and execute and compete every single day in practice and compete in every single game their fortunes in winning should definitely increase.
"That's what their striving for and that's what we want."