The Spearville Royal Lancers girls basketball team is 2-0 a week into the season.
Spearville beat Ashland 67-43 last Friday, then beat Macksville 55-35, Monday night.
“So far we’re moving around the court and we’re competing well,” Royal Lancer head coach Andrew Kempke said. “Defensively we’re communicating pretty well.”
The team has also shot the ball well, Kempke said. There remain, however, areas the team can improve, perhaps like any team only two games into its season.
“We haven’t rebounded as well as we could, we turn the ball over a little too much, but we’ve played well so far,” Kempke said.
That’s true no matter how good the team is, he said.
December gives teams a chance to play a few games and get a feel for where they are before Christmas Break happens. Some coaches consider it almost a sort of preseason, because part of the games are played, then after Christmas Break teams can get more practices in between Christmas and their opening games in January.
Kempke said it almost seems like the team gets a chance to start the season over in a way after having learned what the team's strengths and vulnerabilities are.
In Spearville’s case, the Larned Tournament is helpful because it gives the team a chance to play some opponents they don’t take in league play, while still playing a few they play on their regular schedule, Kempke said.
“You have the chance of running into (Kinsley and Kiowa County) but it gives you an opportunity to get a way from just always playing all the league-schools,” Kempke said. “It kind of prepares you for what it’s gonna be like when you don’t maybe know a lot of information about somebody and you’ve got to go step on the court for something like sub-state.”
That isn’t the only way the Larned Tournament is similar to sub-state, he said.
“Larned’s usually pretty competitive like a sub-state would be, so it gives us good early-season practice at kind of understanding how a week like sub-state week would go,” Kempke said.
In terms of the younger players specifically, the early-season tournament gives the team a chance to practice and try and win a tournament without having to worry about their season actually ending if they lose a game, which is what happens in Sub-State.
“It gives us an opportunity to work and get those girls a chance to see how important tournaments are so that come sub-state time we understand that at that point it’s one-and-done,” Kempke said. “How we prepare, how we practice, we’ve gotta be as close to perfect as we can get.”
The Royal Lancers girls team plays tonight at 5 p.m. against Larned. If they win, they’ll advance to the championship game and play either Kiowa County or Kinsley. Kiowa and Kinsley will play their game at 2 p.m. today.