By Matt Anderson
— The Ben Davis girls’ basketball team went on quite a run to conclude its 2011-12 season.
Not only did they improve their record from 12-6 to 21-7, but also claimed sectional and regional championships. They won two thrillers in overtime, including a 46-44 win against Pike for the sectional championship, before succumbing to Columbus North 50-46 in semistate.
“It took us a while to get on the same page, be committed to doing things the way I kind of wanted to do them,” Ben Davis coach Joe Lentz said. “And also on my part just to make sure I was able to communicate with that group.”
It was a great start for the first-year Ben Davis coach. He had spent the last 15 years at Center Grove
“It’s a different dynamic when you’re thrown into a group of really successful kids and they don’t really know you all well,” Lentz said. “So we got that fixed and kind of took off.”
Lentz is not going to get a lot of stability in his second year. Junior Danielle Cuttino and senior Amber Jones, last year’s leading scorer at 10.1 PPG, are the only girls with varsity experience.
“They’re both, I think, All-Star candidates,” Lentz said. “Obviously, Danielle next year instead of this but I think they’re as good of players as there are anywhere in the state at their positions.”
Both sat out Ben Davis’ scrimmage against Cathedral on Nov. 1, due to injuries. The duo is expected to return to action for their season opener against Brownsburg.
“We learned some things,” Lentz said on the scrimmage. “We took a lineup on the floor that had absolutely zero varsity experience.”
Surprisingly, Ben Davis won the first quarter of play. Cathedral then threw a lot of different situations at the girls over the next three quarters and the Giants could not take another quarter.
The scrimmage gave Lentz a good indication of where the girls are and gave the girls their first taste of varsity action, which will be key as the season progresses.
“We’re going to have to rely on several kids,” he said. “Our three freshmen stick out in my mind that we’re going to have to depend on. We’re going to have to develop and bring them along.”
Those three freshmen are Robyn Young, Eryn Young, and Aerianna Harris. Each play a different position and will look for playing time on a crowded roster, which includes the likes of sophomores Bri Fox and Caprice Garner.
“We’re going to have to get some real good production out of them if we’re going to have any success,” Lentz said.
With so much inexperience there could be a lot of interchangeable parts as the season gets underway. The Giants are entering without any major expectations, just wanting to get better and hopefully contend come tournament time.
“We’re going to be, by committee in some respects, on some positions at least at the beginning of the year,” Lentz said. “It should be fun. It’s a different approach because it’s a very different team.”