GENOA – Genoa-Kingston girls basketball coach Kyle Henkel has preached to his team that he just wants to see improvement from game-to-game.
Without 2011 Daily Chronicle All-Area player Andrea Strohmaier, who was injured in Friday's win over Harvard, the Cogs struggled in a 67-9 loss to Burlington Central on Saturday. But it wasn't just the loss that frustrated Henkel, it was the drop off in effort from the previous day's win.
“We played well last night for us, and what I've kind of been preaching all season long is progression,” Henkel said. “I don't think we progressed today from last night. I told them, though, that we need to move on, but definitely don't forget it.”
Progress has been difficult to come by for the Cogs over the last four years.
With four different coaches in four years, the program has struggled, and Henkel has set out to change its culture.
“We haven't had a lot of time in a single system,” Henkel said. “I think practices, sometimes in the past, they weren't real intense … Being out there with what happened tonight is way worse than a (tough) practice. That's one thing I want them to take away. They've got to go hard every second.”
From the start on Saturday, it was clear that the Cogs were simply no match for the Rockets. During the first quarter, Burlington Central played a full-court press, and a majority of G-K's possessions ended with turnovers.
“We got flustered when they were putting so much pressure on us, and we just weren't ready for that,” junior Katie Thurlby said. “Because we won last night, we had confidence today, but when we saw them we kind of freaked out a little bit.”
The Rockets jumped out to an early lead, and the Cogs didn't score until 5:08 remained in the second quarter, when Tori Henley made the score 24-2. The Cogs wouldn't score another field goal until midway through the fourth quarter.
“Coming out today, I don't think we had it in us mentally or physically to play,” senior Danielle Engel said. “We just didn't play as a team, we were making passes. I think Monday, we can work on that and be better for (Tuesday's game against North Boone).”
While the Cogs succeeded early last season before tailing off, Engel hopes her team can learn from Saturday's loss and improve as the season goes on.
“I think it's better for us to have a game like this early in the season, because we're only going to get better as the season goes on,” Engel said. I think it's good that we have this early-on loss so that in the end of the season, we can look back at this and be like, 'This actually taught us something.'"