Sophomores to play key role for girls
As the leaves start to fall off the trees, the first snowfall comes down and holiday shopping begins, sporting events at Portage High School shift to indoor venues. A challenging road lies ahead for the girls’ varsity basketball team, which lost several key players to graduation last June. The Indians will look to build on an 11-9 season that saw them fall 51-38 to the host Vikings in the second round of the sectional.
The Indians are going through a transition period. All five starters, apart from senior leader Tori Bliss, will be underclassmen. More young players will play key roles on the bench. While they admit that they will be inexperienced, Portage is not ready to label this a rebuilding year.
“We are going to be young, most likely starting sophomores this season. However, we fully expect to compete for the Duneland Conference and sectional championships,” head coach Chris Seibert said.
With a roster comprised of nearly all young players, Tori Bliss will play a vital role as an experienced leader. Bliss is also a successful soccer goalie, a state champion in track.
“Tori is very vocal and leads by example. She has a tireless work ethic and you can definitely tell why she has had so much success. She embodies what it means to be a student athlete and we could not be happier to have her be a part of our program,” Seibert said.
Another factor that plays in the Indians favor is that they have young players who have gotten a taste of the court.
“I learned how the game is a lot faster as you move up levels,” Nicki Monahan said. Fellow sophomore Alyssa Tampier, a point guard, echoed Monahan’s assessment of what was learned as a freshman.
“I now know what is going to happen in the game and that there is a big difference between middle school basketball and high school on the varsity,” Tampier said.
Portage will host the sectional for girls’ basketball this year. The chance to win the sectional on their home court gives the Indians even more motivation to be cutting down the nets come February.
Story By: Sports Co-Editor, Brandon Vickrey