CHS Girls HoopsFor a team already lacking game experience, the last thing the Charlotte High School girls varsity basketball team needed was to lose its only senior leadership. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what second-year coach Bill Newhouse’s team endured this past December.
Despite a 2-0 start to the season, the Orioles were fighting a constant uphill battle when seniors Hannah Vanderstelt and Allie Goeman were lost to injury. That meant the brunt of the scoring and leadership had to be carried by younger, inexperienced players, including a pair of freshman.
“We’re competing a little better than last year,” Newhouse said. “But, we play down to our youth sometimes. But, we’re starting to make adjustments.”
The team’s youth and inexperience has been brought to life in league play, where teams are a little more familiar with each other. Pennfield and Marshall, for example, applied a lot of full-court pressure on the team’s young guards as Vanderstelt and Goeman were working themselves back into game shape.
Newhouse, though, knows he has some smart players on his squad and that they will  learn from more game experience.
“They are learning and adjusting,” he said. “We have a lot of smart kids, both in terms of basketball sense and academic sense.”
Playing smart is a goal the team set for itself at the beginning of the year. Making the choice to get better every day was also important for such a young team.
“We’re looking for more consistency,” Newhouse said, “That can be a tough message sometimes for young players who are adjusting to high school.”
Making the adjustment to better competition takes time and experience, both of which the varsity is gaining this season. Despite some tough losses, Newhouse sees a bright future for the girls program at Charlotte. He pointed to a successful JV team, which was 7-1 through eight games and a talented group of players in seventh and eighth grade.
Teaching kids the fundamentals at an early age and inspiring an enthusiasm and joy for the game are crucial to building the program, Newhouse said. He and his staff have been active in the revitalization of CPS youth basketball programs. His staff is offering another session of youth programming this winter.
Skills and Drills begins Saturday, Jan. 23 and will be offered each Saturday morning from 11 a.m. to noon at the Charlotte High School dome through Feb. 27 for all fourth through eighth grade girls. Participants will have the opportunity to work with the Charlotte High School girls varsity coaching staff and varsity players.