Billies hoops expects strong year

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FHS ranked 10th heading into girls’ basketball season

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  • Billies hoops expects strong year
    Billies hoops expects strong year
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It’s basketball time in the Hill Country.

Fredericksburg High School varsity girls’ basketball carries a loaded roster with high expectations into the 2019-20 season.

The Billies, who went 31-8 overall and 10-0 in District 28-4A play, ended last season in the Region IV-4A quarterfinals against Liberty Hill in February.

FHS led for most of the game but came up short during the fourth quarter.

The team had not lost since mid-December.

“It was a disappointing finish,” head coach Carrie Grona said. “We didn’t know how to handle ourselves in adverse situations.”

The Texas Girls Coaches Association ranks the Billies as the tenth-best Class 4A team.

Now, the team returns many of its starters including lone senior Catie Huff, juniors Brooke Batch, Brittley Bowers and Audrey Spurgin and sophomore Anabel Araiza.

Juniors Anna Gold and Lauren Beyer move up from junior varsity to replace graduated seniors.

Freshman standout Ella Hartmann will get the first nod at current Angelo State hoopster Mia Torres’ point guard spot.

“Ella is going to be the first true point guard we have had here since I have been here,” Grona said.

Spurgin will likely lead the team in the post position, while Batch will be one of the Billies’ outside shooters.

“They know their roles much better this year, than they did last year and watching them scrimmage was fun.”

Off-season prep

Since March, multiple FHS players put in work to improve, playing in a fall league in San Antonio against 5A and 6A schools.

“We have spent a lot of time working on team chemistry and getting them touches and just getting them opportunities to play together,” Grona said. “I wanted to get them as far out of their comfort zone as possible.”

As a result, Grona sees improvements across the board, from skills to ball handling.

“They have all improved in every imaginable way, it’s very good,” she said.

Grona will introduce two new spacing offenses, one based on guard play and the other oriented around the post.

She also has four different presses, changing it up almost every possession.

“I think we are going to confuse them and hopefully it only gets better next year too,” she said.

Grona said the biggest gap will be filling four-year starter Torres’ shoes.

“Someone is going to have to step up and score double digits, and I don’t know who that is going to fill that role yet,” she said.

Team chemistry

While Grona has had tightknit teams in the past, she says this is one of her strongest teams during her eightyear tenure.

“The unity of this team is unlike anything that we have had, all eight of them work together,” Grona said. “There’s a lot of things that I get to do this year that I haven’t gotten do before so I think it’s going to be a fun season.”

Schedule

FHS starts the season with a few scrimmages followed by the regular-season opener against Comfort on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Other non-tournament opponents include Brownwood, San Antonio FEAST, Burnet, Marion, Devine and Liberty Hill. The Billies play in the San Marcos tournament, against 5A and 6A schools.

Right after Thanksgiving, FHS travels to Wichita Falls for an invite-only tournament, where the team plays in the 5A/6A bracket.

“I hope this puts them in adverse situations and it should give us a lot better competition than we have seen, so they are going to have to rise to the occasion,” Grona said.

FHS will against host a home tournament right before Christmas, bringing in schools like Stephenville, Granbury, Dripping Springs and other schools.

District outlook

FHS won the outright District 28-4A championship, going undefeated and hopes to defend the title.

FHS faces rival Boerne, Canyon Lake, Wimberley, Bandera and Llano in 28-4A play.

“I think Boerne is going to be our toughest opponent, they are every year,” Grona said.