In his ninth season at Creekview, Nolan is working with his largest class of seniors yet, but the Lady Grizzlies will be rather young off the bench.
Leading the group of five seniors are veterans Danyelle Blankenship, Dee Blankenship, Courtney Ashworth and Ella Wilkie. Another senior, Lauren Johnson, was a contributor last season, but she is expected to join the team in six to eight weeks after recovering from a stress fracture that occurred during the cross country season.
“I think, when you go past the five seniors, we are going to be a little young,” Nolan said. “But these five girls get along better with each other than any other group of seniors that I’ve had. I think that will help us and be a memorable senior year for them.”
Much like last season, Creekview finished 21-5 overall and 14-1 against Region 7AAAAA opponents, Nolan expects them to compete at a high level.
“We had a chance to win a championship,” Nolan said. “We lost in the first round of the region tournament, which was a big disappointment, but I thought we had a good season last year, and we are just going to try to build on that.”
Creekview doesn’t have a go-to player, which means they have to play like a team each time they are on the court.
“We are going to focus on playing great defense,” Nolan said. “We don’t have the athleticism to give the ball to one girl and put it all on her shoulders and expect her to score. Still, I expect us to play at a high level like we always have.”
In analyzing Region 7AAAAA, Nolan feels neighboring Sequoyah will pose a challenge, as will Osborne, Kell and Pope.
Simply put, the Lady Grizzlies won’t be taking any opponent lightly.
“There are a lot of good programs in our region,” Nolan said. “It can be hard to say what some of the teams are going to have after (graduation), but I’m sure it will be competitive again.”