Rams look for smoother sailing in 2017-18

Last year was anything but smooth for the Pleasant Ridge Rams’ girls’ basketball program.

A team that had the talent to do some very good things displayed that potential at many junctures of the 2016-17 season only to sandwich those moments with ups and downs.

“We had a lot of attitudes on the court and it was in our heads,” senior Montanna Adams said of a season that ended in an unceremonious first-round playoff exit at home. “We just didn’t play our best. I can’t tell you why, I don’t know why. We just didn’t play the best together. I think this year we will play really well together.

“It was up and down, like a roller coaster. We have to practice all the time, work your hardest, play together as a team and no attitudes. I hate attitudes. I think things are shaping up and I think we will work really well together.”

Head coach Mike Koontz went into the summer with a sharp focus and a hope of getting everyone back on a positive path for growth.

“We are focusing on getting better physically in the weight room and getting better at playing basketball as a whole,” Koontz said. “We are going to have some girls contribute at the varsity level that have not played a lot of varsity time in the past so making sure they mesh with the others is going to be a must. We have started the summer on a great note. We have had great numbers in the weight room and in our skills session.”

Koontz has had time to reflect on his team’s audition for a job at Magic Mountain as the premiere roller coaster at the famous park and may have some explanation on the reasons behind it.

“I do not think some of our younger girls were ready for the grind of the season,” Koontz said. “They are now a year older and know what to expect. They know and understand that they have to show up every day ready to work and get better. These younger girls are putting in the time and we hope to see great things from them.”

Adams likes summer basketball as it allows for teams to come together.

“I think it’s really fun, we play well together this year and I think it’s going to be a good year,” Adams said. “I like playing in the summer because it’s a time to get together and we know who we are going to play with and what we are going to have in the school year.”

The team participated at the Piper summer tournament in June and represented itself admirably, according to Adams.

“At Piper we didn’t do terrible, we won a few games,” Adams said. “There was a lot of competition there and that’s what we need. It’s more competitive than the school year and that’s what we needed. I think it’s going to help us.

“We kept close with all the teams there, so we can at least battle with them. The things we struggled on was that we didn’t shoot very well. It’s summer time, so that happens.”

Koontz has seen a lot of positives during the year’s hottest days.

“I feel we are having a good time this summer,” Koontz said. “The girls are working hard and having fun together. It’s nice as a coach when you look over and all the girls are smiling together and having a good time. We have a lot of real young girls that is going to be fun to watch them grow into our program for the future. We have some young ones that will hopefully contribute at the JV level and possibly push our older girls.”

The offseason is essentially time to improve.

“There is pressure because it’s the time to get better,” Adams said. “You can’t just go out there and throw up the ball. You have to do things, you have to try.

“I honestly think the older girls are doing well. I feel like the younger girls have a lot of potential coming in and I feel like every one of them that came out this year is going to be pretty good.”