The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 21, 2012

Cottey takes 8-0 mark into holiday break

Cottey College basketball coach Dave Ketterman had a quick answer when asked to explain the Comets’ 8-0 start.

“It’s good players and good scheduling,” Ketterman said.

Ketterman also reminded on Thursday that Cottey will not lose a game in 2012 (the Comets don’t resume until January).

Cottey is ranked No. 19 in NJCAA Division II. Lake Michigan College of Benton Harbor is No. 1, Ketterman said, with Kansas schools Highland (under former Northeastern Oklahoma A&M coach B.J. Smith) and Johnson County fourth and fifth, respectively. North Arkansas of Harrison is 12th.

The cupboard wasn’t bare for Ketterman. He greeted five veterans from last season — 5-foot-11 Bailey Braden, 5-4 Chelsey Rowland, 5-9 Blaklee Sanders, 6-0 Lanie Skaggs and 5-11 Petra Stankovic.

Ketterman, who’s in his ninth season with the Nevada-based Comets, has been starting Braden, Rowland, Sanders, Stankovic and 5-7 freshman Dayna Turnbull (from New Zealand).

“We use Lanie (Skaggs) and the remaining five players (all freshmen) on our roster,” Ketterman said. “However, Kennadi Howard (5-7) hasn’t been cleared since sustaining a concussion some three weeks ago.”

The rest of the freshmen are 5-5 Caryli Ingles, 5-9 Selena Gochenour, 5-10 Cassie Hale and 5-9 Kat Zumalt.

“There’s no question those veterans have stepped up their performances. Sanders probably has been the leader of the pack,” Ketterman said. “She’s averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.

“Braden is averaging nine points and nine rebounds,” Ketterman said. “Turnbull is averaging 14.5 points. Everyone else is contributing.

“Turnbull, a standout in touch rugby in New Zealand, also is our leader in assists (a total of 56) and steals (31),” Ketterman said. “That girl could run forever.

“A significant statistic for our team is an average of 24 assists to 12.5 turn-overs,” Ketterman said. “That’s a 2-1 ratio. Turnbull has only 18 turnovers.

“We haven’t played a top-20 type schedule,” Ketterman said. “We’ve played an up-tempo style. We aren’t passing too much. That all helps eliminate turnovers.”

Ketterman believes intangibles are strengths for the Comets.

“It’s been an enjoyable fall,” Ketterman said. “It’s a fun group to coach. It’s an athletic group. They play with energy and effort. They play together. I actually believe they like each other. I believe a major reason for our success is that togetherness.

“The freshman players are very competitive,” Ketterman said. “They do it in a positive way.”

The Comets are scheduled to resume Jan. 12 with a 1 p.m. game on the road against St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.

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