(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Entering his first year as head coach of the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs, Matt Schonoff will enter the season tasked with trying to improve on last season's 8-14 campaign that ended with a loss to Dexter in the Class 4, District 1 semifinals.
Though his girls will enter the season trying to learn his new system, Schonoff is encouraged by what he has seen from his squad so far.
"Practice has been going really well," Schonoff said. "We've had our ups and downs, but when that low is hit they have responded well to pick it back up.
"These girls do work hard and they're listening well. Everything to them is new, but they're starting to understand on what they need to do."
Schonoff comes into the program after having served as an assistant on the Sikeston's boys team last season with the Bulldogs finishing with a 21-4 record.
Before that, he spent three year's guiding the East Prairie program, guiding the Eagles to a combined 34-39 record.
Schonoff said he expects to ramp up the speed of the offense compared to what the the Lady Bulldogs ran last season.
"We're an extremely up-tempo style of team," he said. "We're going to press full court up-and-down. That's how we have to play. Just aggressive, full court at a break-neck speed basically.
"This is the style were wanting to play. They're adjusting to it and working hard, but it something that they have to constantly get better at. Once the season gets going and their conditioning level gets better and better, then it will be a lot better for them."
One big thing the Bulldogs will have going for them is the return of Asia Liggins and Keyonna Blissett, two of last season's leading scorers.
Leading the team, Liggins averaged 18 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while Blissett averaged 7.8 points, four steals and four rebounds.
"They've been in the fire for two years now," Schonoff said of the girls. "They have shown some good work ethic, but there is still a lot of room to improve, just in the type of style that we're going to play.
"Everybody's working hard and the big thing is they're learning. They have to learn any single day."
Those two girls success will largely dictate the fortunes of what is a young Sikeston squad that also hopes to get some help from newcomers such as Vonteria Applewhite.
With practice going well and everyone encouraged by what's going on in the program, Blissett thinks expects to see big strides from the Lady Bulldogs on the court this season.
"I'm pretty confident about this year," said Blissett. "I think a new coach will lead to bigger and better things. I think everybody is excited."
|N.29||at Doniphan, 6 p.m.|
|D.6-11||at Lady Devil Tourney, TBA|
|D.16||Dexter, 6 p.m.|
|D.18-23||Lady Royals Tourney, TBA|
|J.6||at Kelly, 6 p.m.|
|J.10||at Caruthersville, 6 p.m.|
|J.13||Notre Dame, 6 p.m.|
|J.20||at Poplar Bluff, 6 p.m.|
|J.24||Kennett, 6 p.m.|
|J.25||at Delta, 6 p.m.|
|J.27||NMCC, 6 p.m.|
|J.29||Coaches v. Cancer, 11 a.m.|
|J.31||Twin Rivers, 6 p.m.|
|F.2||at Oran, 6 p.m.|
|F.3||Scott City, 6 p.m.|
|F.7||at Jackson, 6 p.m.|
|F.10||Charleston, 6 p.m.|
|F.11||at Saxony Lutheran, 6 p.m.|
|F.15||Portageville, 6 p.m.|
|F.16||Cape Central, 6 p.m.|
|F.21||District Tourney, TBA|