Members of the Elizabeth girls basketball team matched their skills against opponents for the first time this season as they took part in a Nov. 25 scrimmage at Englewood High School.
“The scrimmage is important to our team,” Cardinals coach Jaime Schmalz said. “It is the first time we get to play against an opponent. It is a chance to try different combinations of players on the court to see what works best for us. It is also an opportunity to see if our style of play is effective against another team.”
Four teams — Elizabeth, Englewood, Colorado Academy and Collegiate Academy — took part in the scrimmage with separate games for the varsity and junior varsity teams.
A scrimmage is a competitive practice. Play is officiated and fouls are called but scores aren't kept. The Nov. 25 scrimmage was a round-robin format. Teams rotated time on the court, where they played two eight-minute running-clock periods. During the morning-long scrimmage each team played each of the other three teams.
Schmalz said the Elizabeth team is young but has good veteran leadership.
“We have three seniors who played varsity last season who will help anchor our team,” the coach said. “We plan to play an up-tempo style of basketball because we have very good quickness and speed this season. I think one of our strengths will be the way we push the tempo and run the floor.”
She said she has cross country, softball, volleyball and soccer players on the team this season.
“Our players work well together,” the coach said. “They are enthusiastic, ready to play and they are all go-getters.”
There are 22 players on the roster. The coach said all the girls will see plenty of playing time because she is going to manage the participation rules so the Cardinals can field varsity, junior varsity and c-level teams.
Last year's Cardinals qualified for the playoffs but lost a close game in the opening round. Schmalz said she feels this team will be strong, so she anticipates making the playoffs and winning some tournament games.
Senior Rachel Rucker was a starter last season and was the team's leading scorer. She scored 300 points in 24 games, an average of 12.9 points a game. She also was the team's second leading rebounder.
“I guess basketball is my favorite sport,” she said. “I also play softball and soccer but basketball is my favorite because it is more of a team sport and the action is non-stop. Sometimes in softball or soccer you are just standing around. You don't stand around much playing basketball.”
She said her strength is her offensive play at forward.
“I can take outside shots,” Rucker said. “But I score more points when I drive the lane for the inside shot.”
The senior said she thinks the team will be strong this season.
“We are working together well as a team. We have good team speed so our fast breaks should be really good this season,” she said. “My goal this season is to do all I can to help my team win games and get to the playoffs.”
The Cardinals opened the season Dec. 1 as they traveled to Alamosa for a three-day tournament. The team remains on the road for most of the month as the only Cardinal home game is Dec. 15 against Kennedy.
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