Dedication, drills and hard work are the words a person can use to describe this year’s Pioneer women’s basketball team.
Throughout their respectable season of 12-14, the team has managed to make a remarkable change from last year’s season with a new coach and a new attitude. This week they will test what team they have become in the seven-team Ohio Independent Championships.
Despite the absence of a conference this year, Pioneer women’s basketball is ready to compete against the six other schools that have been in the same boat.
“It’s nice to have a chance to play the teams again,” freshman forward Lindsy Synder said. “I feel confident that we can beat anyone in the tournament that we lost to earlier in the season.”
The six other schools in the OIC will include Central State, Cedarville, Ursuline, Notre Dame, Walsh and Urbana. Cedarville, who won against the Pioneer women this past weekend 81-63, is listed as the number one seed in the tournament.
“Cedarville is definitely the favorite,” Snyder said. “They have a great team and they shoot the ball well and can get out and run. We are the underdog because we didn’t have the best record this year.”
But head coach Jason Mishler has no doubt that if they bring their “A-game,” they can take home the gold.
“I think we need to let this fire us up and prove them wrong,” Synder said. “I am confident that we can beat anyone on any night. We have to play 40 minutes of basketball though. We can’t come out and play bad and get down by 20 and expect something to happen.”
“We believe we have a chance to win if we play our best basketball,” Mishler said. “We are the underdog and we are excited about that.”
The Pioneers are the fifth seed in the championship and will play their first round against Central State. Mishler is not taking any round of the championship lightly.
[pullquote]Each one of us needs to play the best we can for us to have success,” Synder said. “We can win.”[/pullquote]
“I have been telling the ladies let’s win the first game and make it to the final four,” Mishler said. “We need to concentrate on every opponent one game at a time and bring that extra toughness.”
Synder also shares her views on what her coach has been telling her and her teammates.
“Coach is telling us that we need to be tough and have team toughness,” Synder said. “In order to win, we need to win the little plays. We need all five people on the floor at any given time playing their hardest.”
Through tough practices the team has taken a beating for their hard work as they prepare for the OIC tournament.
“We are a little injured right now,” Mishler said. “Lauren Meyers will need to respond coming off a layoff with her injury, along with some of the other players. But everyone needs to raise their level of play now.”
Despite the setbacks with injuries and loses, the Pioneers will give it their all in their first tournament game tonight, Feb. 28, at Central State, hoping to make it further down the championship.
“Each one of us needs to play the best we can for us to have success,” Synder said. “We can win.”
The Pioneers will try to make it to the OIC final four with a win tonight, Feb. 28, in a road game at the fourth seeded Central State University. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m.
Tina Oprean is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.