Team identity the name of the game for Cougars

Friday, November 20, 2009

ROACHDALE -- Jim Brothers wants to do something during his first year at the helm of the North Putnam High School girls basketball team.

He wants to establish them.

"We want to establish an identity for this program," Brothers said. "We want to be established as a hard nose defensive team that plays both ends of the court.

"We have turned the ball over too many times in the past couple of years and that is one thing that has to change here," Brothers added. " We need to be sure of the basketball."

So far, it has been a task that has proved easier said than done.

The Lady Cougars are 0-2 on the season going into tonight's game against Greencastle in the second game of the Putnam County Tournament. But the slow start hasn't affected Brothers mission for the Lady Cougars.

"We are going to work as hard as we can and get some basic things down pat and then move on," Brothers said. "The last two games, we have focused on hard nose man-to-man defense and we're focusing on that now."

Brothers said defense is going to be the foundation for the team this year, but that doesn't mean the Lady Cougars won't be doing anything on the offensive side.

"I think that I have nine kids that are right now putting out great effort in practice and I will play all nine of them," Brothers said. "It's not just one person out there, it's whole team and we are going to try to keep five fresh players out there at all times.

"The teams that only use six players are going to get tired playing us because we are going to be relentless this year," Brothers added.

Brothers also said that one of his team's primary focuses this year is to give it everything they can -- all the time.

"We want to give the maximum amount of effort this year," Brothers said. "I think we can work harder than we have in the past and I'm not knocking Coach Smith and his program. I just think that sometimes you have to change it up and get some freshness in the program.

"We are picking up the tempo in practice and have had some pretty intense practices already," Brothers added. "And the kids have responded great to the workouts. They know that if they get after it in practice, they are awarded playing time."

Brothers did mention his team does have something that will make the Lady Cougars offense interesting to deal with -- Dakota Malayer.

"She (Malayer) gives us a steady influence on the floor and we took her off the point this year," Brothers said. "That way she isn't covered by the fastest people on the court. She also can shoot the ball from the perimeter, which creates an uneven match-up for our opponent's post players that have to guard her. She is going to be a critical aspect our offense this year."

Brothers said he wants his team to be balanced between offense and defense, but he also wants them to be tough.

"We need to be a strong mental team this year and be able to handle adversity," Brothers said. "We have to be able to take care of the ball and get it into the most affective areas for us."