A few weeks into his tenure as the William Chrisman High School girls basketball coach, Scott Schaefer determined he would have an array of talent sprinkled across his roster. But he didn’t know exactly what that would produce.
Schaefer spent the previous two-plus decades across the state line in Kansas, with stops at Gardner Edgerton and McPherson, winning 476 games.
That offered him little insight for the competition he would be facing with William Chrisman.
“I couldn’t have told you a thing about the opposition really, so while I thought we looked like we would be competitive, there was no way to know for sure,” he said.
He sure knows now.
William Chrisman is 11-2 in Schaefer’s first season at the helm, which includes a 2-0 mark in the Suburban White Conference.
The talent is as he suspected — wide-ranging. Each member of the Bears’ starting rotation — Adreon Bell, Bri Burns, Makenzie Erikson, Haley Rodriguez and Rachel Losch — is averaging at least nine points per game this season. None are averaging more than 11 per game.
“That’s a pretty good balance, which is making it difficult for teams to key on any one of our starters,” Schaefer said. “The kids have been unselfish, for the most part, as far as distributing the ball. They’re taking what the defenses are allowing them to do.”
And while his offense has displayed diversity, William Chrisman’s defense has been even more impressive. Schaefer said he has spent considerable practice time breaking down defenses into small parts and “then putting it all together.”
The proof of success is in the results. William Chrisman has allowed only one opponent to reach 50 points this season. And that serves as the primary reason the Bears could challenge for the conference crown.
“It’s been a pretty smooth ride thus far. We’ll see what happens when adversity hits,” Schaefer said. “It’s going to be interesting. I still think we can get a lot better. It just depends if our kids continue to be positive about where we’re headed like they have been to this point.”
This week’s girls games to watch:
Staley vs. North Kansas City, 3 p.m. Monday
For the third straight season, North Kansas City and Staley will meet at the Sprint Center on Martin Luther King Day as part of the newly-named Price Chopper Basketball Classic.
If the first two meetings are any indication, the third matchup could be the highlight of the eight-game slate Monday.
North Kansas City won the 2013 meeting at the Sprint Center when Selena Salas banked in a 26-foot three-pointer at the buzzer. Staley earned payback last season with an eight-point victory in a game that remained close for much of the afternoon.
The 2015 meeting will have a major impact on the Suburban White Conference championship race. North Kansas City improved to 7-3 with a win at Winnetonka on Monday, with Salas providing a game-high 19 points. The Hornets are 2-1 in league play.
Staley took a 4-4 record into Tuesday’s conference battle with Raytown, including a 1-0 mark in the conference.
Blue Springs South at Lee’s Summit, 7 p.m. Thursday
That’s all the time it took for Lee’s Summit to surpass last season’s win total. A year after finishing 8-17 — and fifth in the Suburban Gold Conference — the Tigers are 9-3.
But are they ready to step into the thick of the league race? The next few days could provide that answer.
After a 59-46 win against Raymore-Peculiar on Monday to open their conference schedule, the Tigers play host to Blue Springs South on Thursday.
A lackluster start to Blue Springs South’s season has been offset by a three-game winning streak, which the Jaguars took into a matchup with Truman on Tuesday that concluded after press time.
Led by forward Cloe’ Lane, the Jaguars have been considerably more productive on offense during the winning streak. Lane scored 24 points in a win Friday against Parkway South.