Forward brings needed experience
By Erik Buchinger
The Clintonville High School girls’ basketball team will likely rely on its most experienced player Catherine Morse in the 2016-17 season.
Morse finished as the Truckers’ third-leading scorer from last season in more of a supporting role, and according to second-year head coach Nick Yaeger, the team lost 86 percent of their scoring from last year.
Yaeger said Morse will need to be a leader for this team with only two other seniors on the roster.
“She brings a lot of leadership obviously,” Yaeger said. “I don’t think she has a choice given she’s the only senior with significant playing time.”
Morse said she will have to change her mind set on the floor this season as she significantly has the most experience on the team.
“Last year, I was one of the youngest girls to play, whereas this year I’m the oldest girl,” Morse said. “So I’m completely changing roles and have to step up.”
According to Morse, among the keys to the season include not letting the pressure get to her as the team’s go-to player.
“I have to keep my head on straight,” Morse said. “I can’t let any pressure get to me. I have to be more of a role model for my team this year, so I just have to stay calm for the girls and for myself, try my best and not let things get to me.”
Yaeger also said the pressure to be the team’s best player can be difficult.
“It’s kind of tricky because you don’t want to put all this pressure on her,” Yaeger said. “Last year, she was in a supporting role, but hopefully this leads her to the next step as a leader. I think she’s going to fit in really well with the younger kids, so that’s going to help develop throughout the year.”
Yaeger said with a young team, he hopes that last year’s run to the WIAA regional finals will be an example for the program.
“You’d like to say last year gives us momentum, but this is a whole new year and whole new team,” Yaeger said. “I think we use that as an example because it was a tale of two halves. In the first half of the season, we were not so good. I think the kids and “Cat” know what that’s all about. In the second half, we played as a team, and that was the biggest difference. Everybody trusted each other more, and we had to. That was huge. We were playing extremely well at the end, and it was great.”
Yaeger said working hard is one of Morse’s biggest strengths as a player.
“She’s got something you can’t coach with her motor,” Yaeger said. “She keeps on going and never quits. She plays extremely hard and tough, and no one really wants to guard her in practice.”
Morse said she is looking forward to enjoying her senior season on the basketball court.
“I’m just looking forward to having fun,” Morse said. “We all get along really well. In the summer, we played a lot together, and we just always had a really good time. We have room for improvement, which is going to happen, so we’re just going to have to have fun with it.”