FORT WAYNE – The Canterbury girls basketball team has made a name for itself in 1A with two straight state championships and five in the last six years. But because of that success, the team will get a new set of challenges in a higher class.
The Cavaliers (25-3 last year) will be moving up to 2A this year, and they will have to deal with the loss of two starters in the graduated Bailey Farley (19.8 points) and Aaliyah Gaines (11.2 points).
The people returning are going to have some additional offensive responsibilities, Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger said Monday at the first official practice. But at the same time, we are going to keep a team concept and continue to run our transition like we have done.
Canterbury has won 14 straight postseason games, including a 42-35 win over Vincennes Rivet last spring and also a 64-54 win over Northeast Dubois in 2012 in the 1A title games, both at Indiana State. The Cavs also won state championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Basketball is basketball, no matter where you play it, Canterbury junior guard Darby Maggard said of moving up to 2A. We played some really good teams in 1A, and we will play some really good teams in 2A.
In an effort to get ready for the jump up a class, the Cavs beefed up an already tough schedule by adding Marion, Gary West, Bishop Luers and last years 3A state champion Mount Vernon (which is moving up to 4A this year).
We have tried to improve our schedule to help improve with that aspect, Kreiger said. We have had a tough schedule, and we have picked up some new schools that will hopefully help get us prepared for a deep run in 2A.
The team will try to lessen the effect of losing Farley, who went to Loyola of Chicago, and Gaines, who is playing at Eastern Illinois, by relying on Maggard (19.8 points, 3.1 assists) and senior Kindell Fincher (19.1 points, 10.7 rebounds).
Its a lot of pressure this year but I think we both can handle it, said Fincher, a Xavier recruit. We are the most experienced players, so we have to pick up our other teammates who arent as experienced and give them their little edge to get them going.
Kreiger expects Maggard and Fincher to get some additional attention from opposing defenses.
I am sure people are going to key on them, but we also have some other folks who are going to have to step up and do some of the offensive play to help relieve them of some of the pressure they will receive, Kreiger said.
Canterbury will also have juniors Emma Hyndman (2.4 points, 3.1 rebounds) and Katherine Smith, who played only in the postseason but averaged 9.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in six games.
Its just going to be different, Maggard said. Kindell and I are going to have to do more scoring. Overall its just a little bit of a change, but I think we can do it.