Dutchgirl hoops opens Monday at Fatima

Will Johnson

With no seniors on the Dutchgirl basketball roster for the upcoming season, Ryan Flanagan will be looking to a solid core of juniors to lead the team.

“We have a group of girls who are dependable and put forward the effort required to compete at a high level,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan will have a new face joining him on the bench as an assistant coach.

Currently student teaching in the area, Derrick Tyree chose not to return.

Filling Tyree’s shoes is first-year assistant coach Hannah Wehar.

Originally from Cairo, Mo., Wehar played high school basketball for the Bearcats before taking her talents to John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill., to play both basketball and softball.

Later transferring to Truman State University in Kirksville, Wehar spent her last year in college as a student assistant.

“She brings in energy and enthusiasm into our program, along with a solid basketball background,” Flanagan said of Wehar.

Flanagan returns two starters in Breanna Diestelkamp and Morgan Lairmore.

Other key returners for Flanagan include Liana Miller coming off of a knee injury, Julie Wright, Ella Wright, Abby Koepke, Destinee Busenhart and Brooke Nowack.

A trio of freshman could figure into the varsity mix this winter in Katelyn Landolt, Kate Angell and Anna Skornia.

“We really need some players to step up and fill out our varsity bench,” Flanagan said. “In practice, there has been a lot of competition from players 4-12. I honestly don’t know who is going to step up and fill those roles. The players who compete, sprint the floor, give maximum effort on defense and execute the best in practice and games will play regardless of age.”

Throughout the Four Rivers Conference (FRC), Flanagan says “every team is a team to beat.”

In a preseason poll of coaches, Owensville was picked to finish seventh in the conference ahead of Pacific and behind Sullivan, Hermann, New Haven, St. Clair, St. James and Union.

“There is no slouch and anybody can be anybody on a given night,” Flanagan said.

Opening their season in years past at the Maries County Bank Shootout in St. James over Thanksgiving weekend, Owensville will instead open their season this year on Monday, Nov. 27 on the road in Westphalia against Fatima’s Comets.

OHS’ first home game of the season will be on Tuesday, Dec. 5 when the Father Tolton Regional Catholic Lady Trailblazers come to Gasconade County.