Carolyn Dorsey likes where the Emporia High girls basketball team stands at this point of the off-season.
The Spartans traveled to the Oklahoma State team camp last weekend, where they finshed with a 4-2 mark.
One of the biggest challenges for the young squad was learning to play without senior forward Taylor Milleson, the only player who graduated from last year’s roster.
“She did a lot for us,” Dorsey said. “You lose only one kid and you return a good core and that’s exciting to see as a coach. I wasn’t sure of what we would look like. We were competitive. We were attacking, aggressive. Those younger kids really (have) grown up. It’s very exciting.”
Dorsey added that the Spartans’ style of play at Oklahoma State has gotten faster than what it has been in previous years.
“I was super pleased,” she said. “We go down to Oklahoma State a lot of times and those kids we play against are very aggressive. We were aggressive in every single game. It was nice to see.”
Dorsey saw improvement from several key performers from a year ago, including senior Mya Tovar, juniors Emily Christensen, Kaylee Thomas and Macey Adams and sophomores Allie Baker and Gracie Gilpin. Four of the six played significant minutes for the Spartans a year ago.
“We had about nine kids who suited for the varsity team,” Dorsey said. “Of those nine, (there) wasn’t one that was super stellar. That sophomore class has been strong across the board. We’re shooting the ball well. We were collapsing the defenses. We were pitching (and) hitting the backside. Our kids are playing confidently.
“Every single kid that went down to Oklahoma State had an extremely positive weekend.”
The future of the program continues to remain bright as Emporia’s junior varsity also went 4-2 at OSU, while the freshman team finished 3-3.
“Where the future of my program is right now, I feel pretty good,” Dorsey said. “We’ve been working. We’ve struggled. Right now, after team camp and Oklahoma State camp and knowing what I have going on and across the board, I feel really good about it. I think our program is on the up. I think we’re gonna surprise some people. I think we’re gonna get back to the top where we should be.”
EHS will attend Emporia State’s team camp next week, followed by two MAYB Tournaments and participate in open gyms the remainder of the summer. The Spartans will begintheir season at home against Hayden on December 6.
“That’ll be a good opening test,” Dorsey said. “If we can continue to see the kids we saw this weekend, I think the game is going to be fun to watch. It was a nice experience.”