Lady Rangers building confidence in new season

GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis

The Lady Rangers practice defensive techniques at practice on Nov. 27. The team has its first game against Lyman in the Bridger Valley Classic on Dec. 7. 

It’s a new season for the Lady Rangers basketball team, and they are ready to get better with each practice and every game. 

Tim Fagnant is in his second year as head coach for the Lady Rangers.

“It’s good that these girls have a year of our offense under their belt,” Fagnant said. “We’ll continue to build on that.”

The Lady Rangers have two seniors in Taylor McCloud and Brooklynn Hagler, several returning sophomores and juniors, and a few freshmen eager to contribute.

“Our strength is drawing on leadership and experience from everybody on the team,” Fagnant said. “They know it’s all about helping each other out.”

Fagnant said although the offense is the same from last season, the Lady Rangers will shake things up on defense.

“Defense will get us out of our comfort zone,” Fagnant said. “We need to be better ball defenders.”

Last season the Lady Rangers finished with a record of 2–21.

They beat Big Piney in the 2A West regional tournament, but fell to Rocky Mountain and missed a state tournament spot.

“We’re building off last year, like that win against Big Piney, which was a significant win for the program,” Fagnant said. “That loss against Rocky Mountain was an enlightening game, and both coaches and players will work to be ready for that kind of pressure.”

Fagnant said his team is working on utilizing screens on offense to build a strong “read-and-react” team.

“Our girls are learning to be patient,” Fagnant said. “There’s some big learning curves, but in the long run we’ll be a tougher team for it.”

Once the basketball season starts, it can be a blur of back-to-back games and tournaments, with not a lot of practice time in between.

Fagnant said the team will work hard to make the most of precious practice time.

“We need to work on fusing our offensive and defensive drills together,” Fagnant said. “We’ll be more effective when we can really prepare for games on both ends of the ball.”

The Lady Rangers coach said building confidence and creating the right attitude will be key for the team’s success this season.

“The players will understand that there will be ups and downs, but it’s how they react that will make the difference,” Fagnant said.

Fagnant said he wants to foster an aggressive attitude with his players.

“We need to practice with more aggression and pressure each other during practice so it’s not a foreign thing during games,” Fagnant said.

The Kemmerer basketball teams will be hosting a tournament in January, a first for Kemmerer in several seasons.

“It’s a great opportunity, because it gives us more chances to play at home on our own floor,” Fagnant said. “This season we’ll play three tournaments in a row, so more opportunities to play, the better.”

The Lady Rangers open their season at the Bridger Valley Classic on Dec. 7 and 8. The first matchup for the Kemmerer girls is against Lyman on Friday, Dec. 7.

“Our key in that game will be to maintain our composure, and not allow height to be a disadvantage,” Fagnant said. “It’s one game out of many.”

“These are good kids,” Fagnant continued. “As long as they understand who we are and what we’re trying to build as a team, that’s really what we’re going for.”