The Lord Botetourt girls will begin defense of their Class 3 state basketball championship this week with two games. LB was scheduled to play at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg on Tuesday, and on Friday they’ll have their home opener against Brookville.
Several of Botetourt’s key players began practice last week as they were members of the Cavalier volleyball team, which won a second state championship on November 16. Coach Chuck Pound was in a similar situation last year after the volleyball season, but this is a special group of girls.
“The beginning of the season is very similar to last year,” said Pound. “ We worked a lot of fundamentals for the first two weeks. We will be trying to see which lineups play best together. I feel like we have a lot of options to start the year.”
Among the returnees is center Miette Veldman, who is one of the top players in the state on both the basketball and volleyball courts. She’s just a junior.
“An amazing athlete that can come right off the volleyball court and make an impact on the basketball court,” said Pound. “Part of our late season success last year was due to being able to get the ball inside to Miette.”
Others coming off the volleyball team are Brooklyn Shelton, Jenna Alam, Scottie Cook and Kenleigh Gunter. Shelton is a solid scorer who has an outside shot of breaking the school career scoring record while Alam is a fourth year point guard. Cook is a solid inside player and Gunter is also a returning starter. Kenleigh is a junior and Shelton, Alam and Cook are all seniors.
Other players who saw considerable time last year include junior Meredith Wells and sophomore Grace Taylor. Wells came on strong at the end of last season and Taylor is a solid shooter who missed the championship run with a broken wrist last winter.
Other players on the varsity include backup sophomore point guard Briana Myers, sophomore post player Brianna Wissemann and senior post player Brooke Snyder.
“I see the progression of this season being similar to last season,” said Pound. “ I felt like after the first of the year we started to develop our roles and what we could do well. Obviously many things worked in our favor and we played very well down the stretch to win the state title. “
The goal is another state championship, but right now the Cavaliers are taking it one game at a time.
“So many factors are in play when trying to make a state run,” said Pound. “With some of the long-range weather forecasts, it could be an interesting season with limited practices and multiple games per week. Last year we had very little interruptions and were able to get in a flow and improve. I thought we were still improving up to the last week.”