The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Girls Basketball Team is Improving After Departures from Staff, Stars

Zach Kennett
Freshman Sophie Shapiro dribbles in the Nov. 28 home game against Highland. Shapiro scored two points, one rebound and an assist.

It happens every year. Players graduate and staff members move on. It’s the never-ending cycle of high school sports, and it’s no different for the girls basketball team.

Last season, the team saw a tremendous turnover after head coach Caty Happe left, lead scorers Emerson Weller and Kaitlyn Morningstar graduated and junior Zay Hoover transferred.

The trio combined to score 26 points per game, which was over half of the team’s scoring output last season. Going into this season, the Tigers had to replace that production while running a new-look rotation.

Freshman Sophie Shapiro has arguably had the greatest impact of any of the new additions to the team. Shapiro averages six points, is second on the team with 1.8 in steals per game and leads the roster with 2.7 assists per game.

“I just try to work as hard as I can all the time I’m on the court,” Shapiro said.

That hard work is evident. Shapiro is one of five players who has played in each game this season and has scored the second-most points of any player.

The team is led in scoring by sophomore guard Mia Semith, who averages 12.3 points per game, which is six times her average last season. Semith also leads the team in rebounds, averaging 5.8 boards per game.

“We lost a lot of rebounding and scoring from last year’s team, so there is some pressure to fill those spots,” Semith said.

Point guard was one position without pressure to fill. Junior Ellie Neath scored the most points of any returning member from last year’s team and now averages 6.1 points per game.

“Last year I still saw myself as a role player and a pass-first player,” Neath said. “This year I’m trying to look to score more, but obviously get my teammates some good looks.”

Neath has increased her points per game and assists per game from last season. She said the team has a “completely different” style with new head coach Bryan Young than they did with coach Happe.

Young, who served as an assistant with the team for the past decade, has helmed this new-look Tigers squad to a 3-6 record, including going 2-2 in their last four games after dropping four of their first five. 

Still, Young has a different style than his predecessor.

“The principles have changed,” junior forward Blakely Hockett said. “The little things that coach Young would push … there’s different goals [from coach Happe].”

Leadership styles haven’t just changed because of new coaching, but because of new locker room leaders like Neath and seniors Olivia Kolnsberg and Molly Peel, who provide valuable experience in developing a younger team.

“[Last year’s seniors] were definitely big leaders for our program and always kind of made us a unit and a strong team,” sophomore forward Gabby Cook said. “Now our team is younger, more juniors and sophomores, and a lot of freshmen. So we all have to learn how to work together and all be leaders, it can’t just be the older girls. We all need to find our role in the team.”

Kolnsberg specifically was cited by teammates for her leadership on and off the court.

“Liv’s always talking and communicating. She is just a good leader because she’s a good teammate,” Hockett said. “She’s always looking out for everybody and she’s really good at handling the ball.”

Kolnsberg put up two points, two rebounds and two assists in the team’s recent 59-48 victory over the Belleville East Lancers Dec. 7. The win demonstrated the team’s development, as the Lancers knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs last season.

“I think that was one of our better games, because we played as a team and we executed very well,” sophomore forward Lainey McFarlin said.  “Our defense was also very on point. Coming in, we had the mindset of ‘we have to win’ because they beat us in the first round of regionals, so we had to come back and show them that we’re better.”

According to Shapiro, when the team gets more experience, the wins will follow.

“I feel like once we spend more time together, things will start to come to us more naturally on the court,” Shapiro said.

About the Contributors
Zach Cohn
Zach Cohn, Staff Writer
Zach is a junior and second year journalism student. He has been a member of the Edwardsville Hockey team for 4 years and is also a member of the EHS broadcasting club where he broadcasts EHS football, basketball and baseball games.
Zach Kennett
Zach Kennett, Sports Editor
Zach Kennett is a first-time journalism student and first-time member of the Claw. He currently serves as the co-editor-in-chief of The Tiger, which is the school’s yearbook. He formerly served as the managing editor. He has also won two sectional titles in scholastic journalism, with one being in news writing and the other being in sports writing. Zach enjoys spending his (dwindling) free time with his dogs, playing video games, cooking or driving his truck, Hank. Being a member of the Claw is important to him in that he was previously mentored by former Claw members and looks forward to leaving his mark on the publication.
Veda Kommineni
Veda Kommineni, Staff Writer
Veda Kommineni is a first-year journalism student but has spent three years on the yearbook staff. Outside of class, Veda plays varsity tennis for Edwardsville, does robotics, and is the editor-in-chief- of the yearbook. Her favorite classes have always been relating to literature, and she can't wait to pursue journalism.
Colleen Moore
Colleen Moore, Staff Writer
Colleen is a senior and first year journalism student. She is a design editor for the EHS Tiger yearbook and a member of Creative Writing Club. Outside of school, Colleen enjoys listening to music of all genres, constructing elaborate and silly PowerPoints, and playing sand volleyball. She’s planning to further her education outside of high school in Ohio to be closer to her grandma.
Julia Towell
Julia Towell, A&E Editor
Julia is a senior and second-year journalism student. She is the A&E editor for The Claw and Tiger Times Online. Julia is an Aquarius who absolutely despises Matthew McConaughey. On Friday nights you won’t see her at a football game on her own free will, but you will catch her snuggled in bed with her cat, reading. Julia is actively involved in Drama Club and Bel Canto. Outside of school she loves to read, cuddle her wonderful little baby boy and gremlin cats, garden, sleep, and watch romcoms.