The Oskaloosa girls basketball team had a very successful season a year ago.
The Indians went 18-5 before losing to Fairfield 54-49 in tournament play.
They return half of the team from last season as most of the offense went with the departed players.
“We return less than 15 percent of our scoring from last year’s team,” Oskaloosa coach Steve Kaisand said. “As we face that, we know that we will be playing basketball with girls that have very little experience at the varsity level. Even the girls who played last year will be looking at new roles. There won’t be one or two people that can fill those voids. It will have to be a team effort on offense and we will have to play together. We also anticipate our average score being a little lower, which we will have to counter-act on the defensive side of the floor.”
Junior guard Taylor Richardson and junior forward Peyton Zixkefoose are the top scorers returning with Richardson averaging 3.7 points a game and Zickefoose coming in at 3.1 points per contest.
The rest of the players who saw varsity action — seniors Chace Moyer and Brittany McQueen — score less than two points a game combined.
The rest of the roster will have senior Morgan Holle, juniors Asia Laudermilch and Aleda Renter, sophomores Paige Howard, Hailey Adams and freshman Alexis Westercamp.
Despite not have a lot of experience coming back, Kaisand is confident the Indians will be in each game.
“We expect to compete,” he said. “We are in a little bit of a rebuilding year, but we expect the girls to go out and play hard every night and continue to improve.
“We are a team that is working extremely hard to get better and have had a great attitude. The juniors and seniors have done a tremendous job of being leaders. The girls have a willingness to be coached and improve.”
Zickefoose is the top rebounder back with 90 while Richardson grabbed 55 rebounds, dished out 52 assists and had 38 steals.
“We have some nice post players that are strong, led by Chace Moyer and Peyton Zickefoose,” Kaisand said. “We are talking a lot about the need to get the ball into the post every time down the floor offensively. We also have a lot of confidence in Taylor Richardson to step into the point guard spot and handle the ball for us.”
Kaisand expects the Little Hawkeye Conference to be wide open with four teams vying for the conference title.
Kaisand expects Grinnell to be the favorite. He said the Tigers were a very young team last year and led by what he considers the best returning player in the conference in Deja Jackson. Other teams Kaisand thinks will be in the hunt are Pella, Pella Christian and Norwalk.