After a season of learning, the Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond girls basketball team is putting that knowledge to good use.
The Knights have hummed along this season to a 19-6 record, one that's come with three juniors and two sophomores in the starting lineup.
Most of those players started last year as well, and with another year of experience have consistently churned out one win after another. It's led to the Knights earning the No. 2 seed in their sub-sectional, and the inside track for the first regional title since 1998.
"It's been a blast for me," ALAH coach Craig Moffett said. "I love basketball, and this is a group I've been lucky to inherit."
Moffett, who's in his third season at the helm, has helped usher in a new era with the co-op at ALAH. While the girls' team had combined earlier than the boys, this is the second year of all of the students being under one roof. The camarderie is easier is build when the students all have the same schedule.
And it creates plenty of competition.
"It's been a good thing for our depth," Moffett said. "We have players from each of the former high school. We're still somehow a 1A school, which is great."
The co-op has come when plenty of talented players are coming up. Hannah Wallen, a sophomore, leads the team with 15.3 points and Megan Fifer, a junior, is scoring 11.9 points per game.
A big reason for that is the defense those two can apply on the press and how they can get down the floor quickly on the rebound. ALAH uses its speed to blow by teams before they can get set on defense. Add in starters Mycaela Miller, Peyton Wellbaum and Liz Shipman, and there's a starting five that's hyper aware of where the ball is on the court at all times.
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"We talk about having court vision and seeing the whole court," Moffett said. "They just look up and they're very unselfish.
"Once we get the ball, it's off to the races."
That's usually come from ALAH's press or half-court defense. While the Knights rebound well for their size, they frequently run into teams bigger than they are -- 5-foot-7 tops the rotation.
That post play, and being able to match up with bigger teams depsite a size disadvantage is one area Moffett said assistant coach Mac Condill has been instrumental in making work.
"I don't think I've mentioned him enough, but he is extremely helpful in doing a lot of little things and bringing a different perspective to the court," he said.
But they have plenty of guards who can pass well and finish in transition, making the Knights' speedy style of play one that's manageble. ALAH usually runs seven players deep, and is comfortable going up to 10 in the rotation.
It's made for one of the most successful seasons in the recent history. Since Dale Schuring took three straight teams to regional championships from 1996-98, the 19 wins are the second-most in that 18-year stretch.
The regional they landed in is familiar as well. ALAH has beaten all five teams in the bracket -- but they've also lost to Okaw Valley and Tri-County, who hosts the regional.
"I would just be happy for the girls. That's a goal we've had before the season," Moffett said. "It's kind of like Notre Dame -- they have the banner 'Play like a champion' so, we're trying to do that and we have an opportunity to do that."