POWHATAN – Seniors Elizabeth Carter, Sidney McMinn and Katie Schiefer have been playing together on the basketball court for over 10 years now. Their teammates voted them as the Knights’ captains, and they’ve been very instrumental in giving feedback to their new head coach Phil Villiott on the past and how things had occurred.
“I think their excitement with the season has also shown and they’re putting their best foot forward for sure,” Villiott said. “I’m relying on them very heavily…I try to approach it as more of a partnership between me and them and the team. I think that’s progressing well.”
They’ll look to work together and lead the 11-strong Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Knights to a more successful season.
“I’d say our goal as a team should definitely be to get to Richard Bland…to be in the semifinals of our conference, because in my experience on the team, we’ve only made it once,” Schiefer said.
In addition to their three seniors, the Knights have back one of their leading scoring threats from last season in 9th grader Madelyn Mitchell and also return junior Shaw Forward and freshman Cabrey Forward. The team’s chemistry has grown, and the newcomers to the varsity team have been able to fit into the team really well, Schiefer noted.
“I think the girls coming off the bench this year have really put in a lot of practice time and they’ve gotten a lot better,” Carter added. “I know that I’ve seen them just blossom, so I’m really excited for them to be able to come in and be confident going into the game and not be sitting on the bench like, ‘Please don’t put me in!’ Because I’ve seen that they’re wanting to be in the game, they’re wanting the ball, which I think that’s really awesome to see.”
“Last year we had a really young team and it was some of the girls’ first year playing varsity basketball and they were nervous,” McMinn said. “To see them come out and want to play and put in more effort this year – and they’re having a lot of fun with it this year – it’s good to see that.”
Schiefer sees her team as a guard team – they don’t really have a big per se, but they both shoot very well and have the ability to drive and finish, and they also utilize the bigs that they have in a positive way.
“But they also are great threats on the outside in shooting as well,” Schiefer said. “I think we have strength in all areas.”
She feels that they’re more prepared this year as far as being in shape.
“We’ve done a lot more running and drill stuff to prepare us...” Schiefer said.
They’ve also done a lot more game-simulating drills to help girls in their first year of varsity see, realize and keep up with varsity’s faster pace, added Carter, who played a ton of defense last year. She noted how they’ve been working a lot in practice with defense, reading the offense, making early stops and not fouling. She also spoke to the need for more consistency throughout the team and throughout games.
In addition, Villiott pointed to the importance of continuing to develop confidence in the team.
“I think getting some early successes will be definitely key to that,” he said. His players have been working really hard, he added, and while it’s a long season and a lot of things can happen, continuing that intensity “is definitely going to pay dividends.”
The Knights expect to open the season at Millwood on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m.
Carter is looking forward to having a new set of eyes in Coach Villiott, as he would be able to “see new abilities that we didn’t even know we could do.”
McMinn added: “I’m excited to see where we’re gonna go - where we can go, how much potential we have, where we’re gonna be in 4 months,”