BLANCHARD – With the start of the girls basketball season last week Terry Larsen began his second run as Montabella girls varsity basketball coach.
Larsen, who replaced Scott Jones, served as Mustangs coach from the late 1980s to early 1990s for both the boys and girls teams. He spent the past five seasons as junior varsity coach, including finishing an outstanding 18-2 a year ago.
The varsity team finished last season 11-11 overall. Having coached the junior varsity team Larsen is not stepping into an unknown situation.
“I enjoy the varsity level of play. I enjoy coaching and working with the kids,” he said. “After I took a few years off, mostly for work reasons, I got the opportunity to get back in and I did it. It has just been a progression since then.”
A Montabella graduate, Larsen will inherit a young and inexperienced team. The varsity team lost six seniors to graduation from last year’s team.
“Last year we had two 6-footers. This year we have none,” Larsen said. “We will be young to say the least. We’ve got a few seniors from last year, but they did not get a lot of playing time because of the senior dominated team.”
The focus with a young team will be on defense.
“I feel with inexperience we need to work on the defense and turnover ratio,” Larsen said. “It’s awful tough to win if you turn the ball over a lot. We will be working on those two aspects as much as possible.”
The team will feature two sophomores including Sarah Miller, who played significant time as a freshman.
Larsen would like to have an up-tempo offense, but said the opposing defense will depend on how his team plays.
“The offense will be kind of dictated by what kind of defense we come up against,” he said. “Whether it’s a zone or man. Hopefully, we will be prepared for both as much as possible.”
Larsen is excited to be back coaching the varsity level. He has high expectations for his team, but is being cautious at the same time.
“I’m a little guarded. I have optimism for our year coming in,” he said. “We have quite a bit of raw talent. So I’m very optimistic from that stand point, but they are young.
The Mustangs begin the season with at three-game homestand Nov. 29 against Clare. They will also face Coleman and Lakeview.