Ask almost anyone in The Grove about BGHS Girls Basketball and you’re sure to hear about Katie Gearlds and the 2003 State championship team. Thirteen years later a new group of girls, behind second year coach Kristin Raker, is starting to make some noise. Led by the dynamic duo of juniors Cameron Cardenas and Katie Giller, the team has blasted off to a 9-0 start.
In an interview with Coach Raker and the team captains, a theme has emerged of constantly focusing on improvement and keeping their eyes set on the team goal of winning sectionals. Speaking about preparation Coach Raker said, “Each day I want us, as a team, to be better than where we were the day before.” Raker is also working to instill the mentality that we play as a team and we lead by example. The message must be taking hold with players as the Lady Hornets have beaten teams by an average of 20 pts. per game and the team is averaging nearly 60 pts. per game.
Contributing to the teams success is the offensive powerhouse of Cardenas and Giller. With each of these ladies averaging 20 pts. per game, it is hard for opponents to cover both the outside threat of Cardenas and the inside dominance of Giller. Giller can be tenacious going after the ball averaging over 9 rebounds a game. When speaking on leading by example she said, “My goal for this season is to help [the team] get more aggressive with the game.” Rolling over teams in their 9-0 start, it would seem that the varsity squad has latched on to that aggressive mentality.
If you look outside the paint you will notice the quiet persistence of Cameron Cardenas. Cameron admits that she is not the most vocal person, but that doesn’t mean she’s not pushing her teammates. Cameron’s effort speaks volumes, and her desire to improve and work may speak louder than any words she could provide. She works with a basketball trainer in the off season and is currently working to improve her middle range outside shot. Cameron’s effort is complimented well by another hard working player, Mallory Storms. Storms plays in leagues during the off-season and said playing all year helps keeps her mind fresh and focused on the plays. It also seems like Giller’s aggressiveness is rubbing off as Mallory is working on strength and toughness. When asked about the skills she is working to improve she said, “I’m personally working on playing a stronger post position as well as becoming a tough defender.”
Finally, helping the team stay focused on the message is senior leader McKiyla Kimbrough. Coach Raker has been impressed with McKiyla’s leadership this season pointing out that she plays nearly the entire game with few breaks and has become an aggressive defender. Kimbrough is personally working on improving her defense and ball handling skills. When asked about her role on the team she said, “I think my role for the team is to be a leader helping the ladies out and making sure everyone is on the same track.” With Kimbrough and Storms focusing on defense, something must be working as the Lady Hornets have held opponents to an average of just 41 pts. per game.
With a tough County Tournament kicking off today, the team is happy with their success but understands they still have a long season ahead of them. Many of the girls have identified Roncalli as a major opponent and rival. They will also have to overcome tough teams such as Whiteland and New Castle on their way to sectionals.
On a lighter side, Katie Gearlds still reigns supreme in the gym at BGHS as both Giller and Cardenas have confessed they do not think they could beat her in a game of 2-on-1. However if the Lady Hornets keep up their winning steak there may be new names to add to the legacy of BGHS Girls Basketball. I’m sure Gearlds and the entire Beech Grove community will be watching with anticipation to see what this team can accomplish.