Lady Spartans looking to continue growth

Spearfish’s Ashtyn Reiners drives around a defender during a game in the 2018-19 season. The Lady Spartans open their 2019-20 season Friday at Yankton. Pioneer file photo

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SPEARFISH — Eric Lappe returns for his seventh season as the Lady Spartans’ head basketball coach.

The Lady Spartans finished 3-17 last season.

“I thought at the end of the year we played much better. It took us awhile to figure it out. We had a lot of injuries, with kids we were depending on for big minutes, so we kind of had to throw some kids into the fire  a little bit last year, but hopefully they will pay off this year for us,” Lappe said.

The Lady Spartans return a veteran ball club for the 2019-20 season. 

“We have some kids that put in a lot of time. Erin Rotert, Stella Marcus, Bella Reid, those kids really lived in the gym this summer and you can see the difference in their game,” said Lappe. “We’re hoping that we are going to build, after we went through that heartache last year in order to do that.”

Practice officially started Dec. 2.

“Practices have been going pretty good. The kids have worked hard, and they’ve been very energetic. We’ve had two-a-days the first four days, and not one complaint, or crying, or whining, or anything about it. Just putting in the work and getting better everyday. I’ve seen a lot of progress,” Lappe said.

Lappe hopes the team can continue to build off last season.

“We got a lot of experience last year, so we are much more experienced this season from all those growing pains,” said Lappe. “We’re hoping that we learned from the end of last year, and we can hopefully develop that a little bit, and start out that way instead of finding it in the middle of the year like we did last year.” 

On Dec. 6 the Lady Spartans scrimmaged Rapid City Christian in Spearfish.

This marked a first.

“We haven’t ever had a scrimmage before, and it will be interesting ... I know that from the coaching end of it, it’s changed how we kind of run our practices a little bit,” said Lappe. “It will be a good test for us. It will give is an idea where we are in a lot of different ways, defensively, offensively, and conditioning wise. I think it will be  good for us to  have that exhibition game.”

Lappe added it will give them a chance to look at some kids, and kind of  see where the team is at.

The Black Hills Conference and Class AA will once again provide tough competition, and Lappe hopes his team will be in the mix come tournament time.

“We want to be at our best come March. Hopefully we can avoid the injury bug, which we did not do last year at all,” said Lappe. “If we can do that we’ve got some kids that are really competitive,” said Lappe. “Like I said, they put in a lot of time this summer. They’ve worked really hard at it, now it’s just a matter of putting those things together and finding ways to win games you sometimes you don’t deserve to win, and sometime pull out those games that you are struggling through, but you just find a way to pull it out in the end. We’re hoping for good things, we’re planning for good things, and we’re looking forward the to the season and the kids are excited as well.”

Spearfish opens its regular season Friday at Yankton.

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