PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Canby ready to carry its momentum into new year

Independent file photo Canby’s Sarah Hansen looks to drive during their Dec. 2016 game against Edgerton.

CANBY – Under the direction of first year head coach Jeff Thovson, the Canby Lancers had one of their best seasons in program history last year. The Lancers finished with a 19-4 record and fell one game short of reaching the section championship game.

In his second year at the helm Thovson will be tasked with replacing four starters from last year’s team. This season the Lancers will lean heavily on seniors, Alyssa Beckius and Norah King. Both Beckius and King shared time in the starting lineup last year.

“Alyssa brings a lot of intangibles that a lot of people don’t see,” Thovson said. “She gets a lot of those loose balls and those sneaky rebounds. She can be a tough matchup. She’s a forward that can handle the ball.”

In Canby’s season opener King finished the game with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Thovson said that she came on strong last year and hopes that strong play carries over into this season.

“Norah came out of her shell late last year towards playoff time,” Thovson said. “She played really well. She’s just a smooth post player.”

The good news for the Lancers is they have a pair of seniors to lean on. The bad news is aside from Beckius and King the rest of the roster doesn’t have a lot of playing time at the varsity level.

“We have a lot of kids that are coming in that don’t have a lot of varsity minutes,” Thovson said. “We have to put the pieces together.”

Thovson said the strength of this year’s team will be their play in the paint.

“We have a lot of post players,” Thovson said. “We have to find ways to get them touches and create mismatches down low. I think that will be the strength of this year’s team.”

In the team’s season opener Beckius and King combined to score 35 of the team’s 49 points. Thovson said it will take his team a few games to figure out how the new pieces will fit together. How well those pieces fit will determine how far this team goes.

“We don’t have a lot of kids coming back that have a lot of minutes,” Thovson said. “It will take a little while to tell how far they can go. There is a lot of talent there, but that doesn’t mean you get to go where you want to go. We have to work together and find out how they work well together.”