Like most winter sports coaches, Mike Rhine is having trouble adapting to the new world of the pandemic.
“Coaches want to control everything, and I feel like I can’t control anything this year,” Rhine said. “You can’t have any long-term planning.”
In the short term, however, Rhine is looking forward to the season to see how his Greencastle-Antrim girls basketball team can compete. And — with five of his top seven players returning — he likes what he sees.
“Most teams will be bigger than us, but eight of our nine kids played a fall sport, so we’re athletic,” Rhine said. “We have a lot of positives and we can win games in different ways.”
Mia Libby (so., 5-1, G, 9.3 points per game) returns to pester opponents with her frenetic style of play; Sayge Wilhide (sr., 5-7, G, 9.7 ppg) is one of the top 3-point shooters in the area (she hit 30.5% from long range and averaged nearly 3 per game); and Lauren Pool (jr., 5-9, F, 6.2 ppg) is a steady presence inside.
Jenna Powell (sr., 5-8, F, 2.4 ppg) and Olivia Winslow (sr., 5-10, F, 2.8 ppg) will alternate starts at one of the forward positions, and freshman Haley Noblit (5-2) will replace her sister Ashley at the point guard spot.
Kiersten Britner (jr., 5-7, F) is the seventh player in the rotation, with Rylee Henson (so., 5-7, G) and Sydney Barnes (so., 5-6, G) hoping to earn some quality minutes, too.
“I usually love to have a rotation of seven, with a post sub and a perimeter sub,” Rhine said. “Honestly, this year, I’d like to add another.”
But that’s a smaller concern. Rhine believes his team checks the biggest boxes.
“I think in girls basketball, you can win if you do three things well,” he said. “You have to handle the press, and we can. Mia and Haley are young, but they have experience. Two, if you can’t shoot the 3, teams will just run a zone, so you have to extend the court. Sayge can do that, and so can Haley, Mia and even Lauren. And three, there will be a lot of missed shots, so you have to be able to rebound. Our bigs can rebound, and Mia and Haley will get in there, too.”
Pool led in rebounding last year with 6.7 per game, while Winslow (4.3), Powell (3.9), Libby (3.6) and Wilhide (3.3) all contributed.
Despite having a solid lineup, Rhine expects the Mid Penn Colonial Division to be a tough go.
“Shippensburg, Big Spring and Northern are all good, so we’ll have to earn every win we get,” he said. “We’ll have to play hard every game.”
NOTES: The Blue Devils open this Friday with a home game against Camp Hill … A year ago, Greencastle was 15-8 and fell in the first round of the District 3 Class 5A Tournament to Twin Valley … Libby was a first-team Colonial all-star last year and Wilhide was on the second team.