By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
There’s the proverbial ton of important games left on the basketball schedule this season for Crowder College.
But Lady ’Rider coach Tina Robbins will take an 11-3 record entering the Christmas break.
“I’ve been pleased with the effort in all of our games except the last one (a loss to visiting Pratt on Dec. 8),” Robbins said Friday. “We didn’t shoot well in the losses to Seminole and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. We actually shot the ball well against Pratt. But we didn’t play hard. It was very uncharacteristic of this team. I wasn’t pleased with our effort.”
Robbins, who’s in her sixth season with the Neosho-based Lady’Riders, said they returned to practice last Wednesday. They resume playing games for real at 6 p.m. on Wednesday against visiting North Central Missouri College of Trenton in Bob Sneller Gymnasium.
Balanced scoring is a strong attribute of this NJCAA Division I Crowder team, Robbins said, with the likely starters against North Central averaging in double figures.
They include four veterans in 5-foot-11 Terai Sadler (15.4), 5-7 Sarah Sagely (13.6), 5-7 Caprese Marshall (11.7) and 6-0 Veronica Amos (10.5). Camila Lacerda, a 5-6 freshman, also is averaging 10.5.
Robbins, who’s assisted by Melanie Bowers (the McDonald County graduate recently received her degree from Missouri Southern State University), said Crowder reserves depend on the situation.
They are 5-8 freshman Dorian Briggs, 5-5 sophomore Caitlin Miller, 5-7 redshirt freshman Seleena Neal, 5-10 sophomore Chloe Nichols and 5-7 freshman Megan Ritter.
Lacerda paces the team in assists (86) and steals (30). Sadler is No. 1 in rebounding (9.6) and second in steals (28). Sadler is shooting 55 percent from the field and 84 percent from the foul line on 86 of 103. Sagely has hit 36 of 91 treys for 40 percent. Amos is the No. 2 rebounder (7.5).
“We have to improve on the defensive end and we need better rebounding,” Robbins said. “Those areas, of course, are two of the foundations on which you build a team.
“I like the toughness of our team,” Robbins said. “The players are very competitive. That competitiveness is true in practice. Our No. 1 strength is the chemistry.”
Robbins was the Region 16 coach of the year in 2011-12 as Crowder, 23-9 overall, finished runner-up to Iowa Western in the playoffs.
But the Reivers aren’t in Region 16 this season, Robbins said. Joining Crowder are holdovers Jefferson, Mineral Area, Moberly, State Fair and Three Rivers. The playoffs this season will be held at Three Rivers in Poplar Bluff.
Mineral Area and Moberly currently are nationally ranked, Robbins said. The Crowder opener against a Region 16 foe is on Jan. 12 against visiting Mineral Area.