DALEVILLE — The bar has been set high by the Daleville girls basketball program after a season of epic proportions a year ago.
The Broncos, coached by Jeff Wickersham, posted a 15-7 record last season. For most teams, that record would mark a successful season. But it is a superior campaign in light of the Broncos' history.
In the 12 seasons prior to last year, the Broncos averaged four wins.
But there are some significant hurdles this time around due to graduation losses.
Gone is Jamie Roberts, who finished her prep career with school records for most 3-pointers and steals in a career. She is also now the second-highest scorer in school history. Also lost to graduation was Brynn Gooding (career leader in assists) and Jordyn Marshel (career leader in rebounds).
Brandi Granger and Hannah McKinney are returning letterwinners.
"The Daleville Lady Broncos must adjust to losing the leadership and playmaking abilities of three-year starters Jaime Roberts, Brynn Gooding, and Jordyn Marshel along with Alex Pence," said Wickersham. "This year's team will depend heavily on experienced guards Brandi Grander and Hannah McKinney to carry this young team offensively throughout the season. Defensively, the Broncos will rely on their team speed to create turnovers and easy opportunities to score."There will also be new faces expected to make an impact.
"(We) only return two varsity experienced players so the key to this season will be the development of the young guards, Kayla Skinner, Hanna Hochstetler, and Mikayla Craig along with Kristen Zimmers inside," said Wickersham. "The sooner these players can adjust to the speed of a varsity game, the better the outlook will be for the Broncos this season."
The Raiders enter the fourth year with coach Chelsea Kilian, who played state championship basketball at Shenandoah. Her path toward getting the team back to former glory has been a slow, steady trek. Her first season ended with four wins. Each successive season, the Raiders have increased their win total by one.