Team in transition: Cowgirls aim to gain experience

Julie Garcia By Julie Garcia

Dec. 3, 2013 at 6:03 a.m.

EDNA - The transition between volleyball playoffs and daily basketball practice wasn't an easy one for Edna senior Haley Orsak.

"It was a big transition in the conditioning; I just had to get back in shape," said Orsak, who is one of four returners to the Cowgirls this season. There are seven new varsity players.

To get back in back-and-forth basketball shape, Orsak runs full court drills in practice and does conditioning on other days.

"It's kind of hard," she admitted.

Orsak is no stranger to hard work.

She is ranked third in her senior class. She also plays softball in the spring and will likely join the tennis team next year.

"I'm pretty busy, but I like it," Orsak, who was the top scorer for Edna with 13 points and had the lone 3-pointer, said.

The Cowgirls (2-6) fell 48-38 to the Needville Lady Jays (6-0) on Tuesday at home. This is the second top-ranked team that Edna has played and lost to since its volleyball season ended.

Edna coach Brett Nidey admits that scoring isn't the team's strongest suit.

"The two best games they've played so far are probably against the two best teams this year, which was Schulenburg and then Needville tonight," Nidey said. "We're playing up. I'm not embarrassed; they were not embarrassed. They just couldn't make a shot."

Unless you're naturally born with the ability to shoot baskets, Nidey said, the best way to practice the skill is through repetition.

"We always talk at practice about game speed," he said. "If you go to a practice, a lot of times, people shoot, and they just catch the ball and stand still. The biggest thing is trying to get them to go at game speed, so when they get out there, it isn't so drastic of a change."

Having a roster full of inexperienced varsity players has been a new experience for the six-year head coach. Five seniors graduated from the squad last year.

"We're replacing a lot, but the girls I have bring me a lot of intensity," Nidey said. "It's just the scoring factor."

One thing the Cowgirls do not lack is an aggressive defense, something that Nidey said is integral to their survival on the court.

"We gotta be (aggressive) because we're small," he said. "If we're not aggressive, we'll get crushed because we're so small."

With an average team height of 5 feet, 5 inches, going up against 6-foot posts has proved to be challenging, he said.

However, height has nothing to do with scoring. Ball handling and defense can only get you so far.

"We lost some games that I felt we should have won, but it had to do with our scoring," he said.

With district play starting in less than a week, Orsak knows the new team will need to adjust quickly to varsity game speed.

"It's just a different pace; we all had to get used to it," Orsak said.

Nidey credits Orsak for stepping up her game in the second half to put points on the board.

"Haley had a good scoring night tonight," he said. "She's one of the ones I had come out of volleyball, and she finally got into a scoring groove, which is what we need. Tonight, she did her job and came through."

The Cowgirls will take this loss into a tournament this weekend in Brazos. Nidey appreciates the nonstop action in tournaments.

"We'll do a lot of experimenting," he said. "I told them that tournaments are tournaments - it doesn't matter if you win, lose or draw. It's good experience."

Orsak likes tournaments but for a different reason.

"Getting in a lot of games at once, it's tiring, but it helps you get ready and prepared for those long district games," she said. "Staying in long is good for you. You get a lot of shots in, a lot of playing time."



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