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By Marlana Smith
North Shelby head coach Landon Daniel’s expectations are to help the players become better people and better athletes.
“Basketball, and sports in general, is a great teacher of so many things that will benefit these athletes later on in life,” said Daniel.
Both teams set goals and separate them in three categories: Win, Emotional and Statistical. Coach Daniel said every team’s goal should be to get to the District Championship game and win Districts, which is the case for these programs.
“We feel like we have the talent and skills to make that happen,” Daniel said.
The basketball program’s motto is “Dominate.”
Coach Daniel said the teams want to bring it to each practice and game, both mentally and physically. It’s also important to take into classroom and as a role model for the school.
“Bring Your Own Juice” (BYOJ) is a way that athletes and coaches understand their responsibility for their energy level.
“Positive and Negative energy is contagious, and we want to always be pushing for the Positive side,” Daniel explained.
Returning to assist Coach Daniel are Jaime Williams and Cody Stoneburner.
“Both bring a high IQ of the game and help me in so many ways with practice, preparation and games,” Daniel continued, “I am extremely blessed to have both individuals on the sidelines with me and coaching our JV programs.”
Daniel hopes people will come out and support the programs, which is something they missed last season.
In his fourth year of coaching at North Shelby and 11th overall, Daniel’s record at NS is 75-71 with 173-159 for his career.
Winning the North Shelby Tournament, a District Title and playing in the Class 1 quarterfinals game, the Lady Raiders, come off an 18-6 season, expecting to return three starters. Juniors Ceairra Kirby, Natalie Thrasher and Ava Williams will have to pick up some extra roles.
Junior Caroline Linberger, who was named to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State Team in March, will not be on the court this season due to tearing her ACL during the District Championship softball game.
“We look at this situation as every player has to improve to fill in her role on our team,” said Daniel.
Linberger still has an important role on the team. She will effectively be another assistant coach on the bench and will learn about the game from that perspective.
Senior Jaylea Barrick and junior Meg Shively will fight for starting positions.
Both play primarily in the post for the Lady Raiders, but Daniel will look to them to fill roles on both ends of the floor.
Williams will have to stretch out to possibly a 2 and 3 guard at times, as well as her normal roles as the 4 and 5 player on offense. Williams will have to know multiple positions on defense.
Kirby is the primary ballhandler and a lockdown on defense.
“She is great at getting people the ball for great scoring opportunities and will now need to not only keep doing that, but look to score more herself,” said Daniel.
Coach Daniel said sophomore, Andi Belt, and freshman, Addy Uhlmeyer, will step into the role of handling the ball and hitting some shots from outside, while stretching teams out on defense that Linberger had done for the team before.
Three-point shooter and top of zone defender, Thrasher, will continue those roles and help take care of the ball.
The Lady Raiders began practice the first of November. With a summer full of games, weight-lifting and camp it was a great thing for the team.
Last year was an amazing year for the program and they hope to build on that this year.
“That was last year, this is this year,” Daniel continued. “We know that we have pressure on us to perform at a high level and we want to make no excuses for that.”
The team has talked about how to handle pressure they put on themselves or that others put on them.
“Pressure is a privilege that successful programs have. Having that pressure to repeat is just a statement to the fact that our program is moving in the right direction,” Daniel said.
In the four years Daniel has been coaching the Lady Raiders he has a 40-33 record.
The Raiders who went 11-11 last season bring a good variety of experience this season.
Carson Orr, Kyle Smith, Robert Uhlmeyer, Brendyn McDaniel and JD Rich each started at one point in the season.
Due to the amount of experience, starters could vary from game-to-game.
Coach Daniel said Landon Bender and Noah Greenwell have put in a lot of time during the summer to work on their game.
“The guys all work together very well, and our rotation will have multiple guys playing multiple roles,” said Daniel.
Last season had ups and down, but Daniel feels the best basketball was played at the end of the season. The Raiders won the North Shelby Tournament.
The past three years, some players come straight from football and must switch gears from sport to sport.
Coach Daniel holds a 35-38 record with the Raiders.
Lady Raiders Roster: Senior Jaylea Barrick; juniors: Ava Williams, Caroline Linberger, Ceairra Kirby, Natalie Thrasher, Meg Shively and Whitney Shinn; sophomores: Aliza Yoder, Alexa Mesmer, Andi Belt, Marissa McEwen and Sadie Copenhaver; freshmen: Addy Uhlmeyer, Emme Jones and Lilly Stoneburner.
Seniors: Carson Orr, Kyle Smith, Landon Bender, Noah Greenwell and Robert Uhlmeyer; juniors: Brayton Cook, Brendyn McDaniel, Casey Shockley, Clay Cook, Keaton Roan, Jeremiaha Pratt and JD Rich; sophomores: Aden Johnston, Gabe Orr and Sam Launius; freshmen: Casey Vannoy, Jade Daniel and Oren Vanskike.