GENOA – As high-energy, hustle players, Danielle Engel and Tori Hensley were missing something during last year’s basketball season.
Enter first-year Genoa-Kingston coach Kyle Henkel, who has instilled a bit of youthful enthusiasm into the Cogs’ daily practices, according to the two seniors.
“We definitely think our new coach this year will help us more,” Hensley said. “He keeps us going, he pushes us more.”
With the graduation of Rachel Ellstrom, an All-Area honorable mention selection last season, both Engel and Hensley are being counted on to do a little more in 2012-13.
Henkel wants Engel to think more offensively, in addition to her defensive responsibilities that usually include shutting down the opposing team’s best player.
“Danielle is more of a defensive specialist, but this year we’re trying to get her to go to the bucket more as well,” Henkel said. “Have her use that athletic ability that she’s got.”
Hensley will be asked to step away from the basket more often after improving her jump shot from last season.
“Tori can play both inside and outside, and she’s used to being more inside,” Henkel said. “She’s kind of developed a nice mid-range to outside jump shot, so we’d like to let her use that this year.”
Additionally, both Engel and Hensley are taking more of a leadership role as seniors. As multi-sport athletes – Engel also plays softball while Hensley plays volleyball and softball – they’re both used to setting an example and being vocal.
“If we’re up and the rest of the seniors are up, it definitely shows those juniors, ‘Hey, I need to get in the game, I need to get working harder towards this,’ ” Engel said.
Last year was a struggle as G-K finished with an 8-15 record and lost in a regional quarterfinal. But with a couple returning starters, including junior Andrea Strohmaier, the Cogs have hopes of stopping a regional title streak that’s older than anyone on the roster.
“It’d be nice to get our name back on the board for regionals,” Hensley said. “We haven’t won it since 1989.”