BELPRE — With a young, rebuilding team, the Belpre Golden Eagles know they have to play solid defense and effectively run their offense to claim victory when they square off against the Zane Trace Pioneers at 8 p.m. Wednesday night at Wellston High School.
Fortunately for the Golden Eagles, the Pioneers are also young and rebuilding which should make for a great matchup to open sectional tournament play.
"I kind of think both teams coming into the game, Zane Trace and ourselves, we're both kind of the dangerous team that could be the spoiler for somebody else," said first year Belpre head coach Amber Hanes.
To take down the Pioneers Hanes said her team needs to take care of the basketball and avoid turnovers against the quick, small squad from Zane Trace.
The Golden Eagles also need to have a strong inside post game, which could be the deciding factor in the contest, Hanes noted.
"We think that might be the advantage that we have over them," Hanes said.
In anticipation of how the Pioneers may try to defend the inside post where they're at a disadvantage against the likes of Laura Green and Courtney Stimpert among others Hanes has had her team practicing against a zone defense, which she expects to see Wednesday night.
Hanes has also had her Golden Eagles working on their defense to try to eliminate mismatches on their end of the court as the Pioneers post a well balanced offensive attack.
"We spent a lot of time working on how we approach someone on defense with the ball," Hanes said, noting she's had her team closing in on shooters in a low stance to eliminate the drive and pressure the guards.
As they head into tournament time the Golden Eagles are planning on being at the tournament site well ahead of their game with Zane Trace to help calm the nerves and get ready for the tournament atmosphere.
"We just kind of have an attitude right now of this is a new season," Hanes said. "We're 0-0. We know that we have to win to continue."