BELDING — If things seemed different in Belding’s girls basketball season, it’s because things changed drastically in the second half of the season.
“The first half of the season went great,” Belding first-year coach Brad Wilson said. “We played really well, we progressed each week. Then about Christmas time we hit a streak where we had some injuries, we had some sickness, and one girl that had a family situation. Because of that we played shorthanded. We had some key players that missed the second half of the season.”
In the end, the Redskins finished 9-12 on the season. Wilson would have liked to have seen a different result, but he saw results in other things he was happy with.
“There were a couple of pillars we wanted and one of those was being able to qualify for academic all-state,” he said, which Belding did. “We also wanted to stress the social aspect. As a coach, I wanted to set those standards and goals that was new. We wanted to stick to it when we were successful and when we struggled.”
The Redskins had two players who made O-K Blue Conference honors. Mackenzie Briemayer was all-conference as was Stefanie Harig, though Harig was honorable mention.
But there were others who Wilson mentioned as important players.
“Rachel Hunt was a junior,” he said. “She got injured later in the season, but for three quarters of the season she played hard. She really did all the little things that don’t end up in the scorebook, but gives your team a chance to win. She wants to do anything that will help our team win.”
Belding’s winner of the most improved player award was Monica Baylis.
“She (Baylis) played the five for us and started every game,” Wilson said. “She was undersized and being a sophomore she was underdeveloped against most of the girls she faced. She did a nice job rebounding and playing inside. I think if we put some muscle on her she could do really well next year.”
Wilson also mentioned Peyton Mount, Greta Wilker, Haylee Batzer and Katie Wood.
Wilson said he will have three starters that will be seniors next season and another four players who got a start during the season. That has him optimistic for next year.
“Our entire starting five is coming back so we have a lot of experience coming back,” he said. “We have a nice balance of offensive and defensive players. Any time you have a big transition from one coach to another there’s going to be a learning curve but next year the things will already be in place and they will hit the ground running.”
In fact, Wilson has 12 scrimmages and two practices scheduled during the two weeks of contact allowed by the MHSAA over the summer. Last summer those numbers were reversed.
“We have great depth and I’m hoping we make a run next year,” he said.