By Chris Chaney
Before the season started, Glen Este Lady Trojans head coach Jeff Click said his goal for the team was to enter in the category of the area’s “elite” teams. Through 17 games, if the Lady Trojans aren’t quite there yet, then they are knocking on the door, poised to break it down.
“Overall, we’ve been pretty happy with how we’ve played,” Click said. “Of the five games that we’ve lost, we’ve lost four by a combined (eleven) points. So, we’ve had four losses that were very close and that fact makes it kind of tough because when you have that many close loses, you know you can go back and pick out a few plays here and there on the offensive side or defensive side that we could have done better that probably could have changed the outcome.
“We’re happy with what we’ve done, but we also feel like we’ve missed a few opportunities to win a few more games.”
At 12-5 overall and 5-4 in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, Glen Este has solidified themselves if not a top team in the area, then definitely one that deserves their opponents’ full attention when they see the Lady Trojans on the schedule.
The season didn’t start out as well as the team had hoped, going a pedestrian 3-2 to open the season. However, Click chalks the slow start up to growing pains and the team learning how to play together.
“Unfortunately, we started off the year with two freshman that were going to handle the ball for us due to an injury that lost our point guard,” Click said. “I think it took us a while to get settled with getting (the freshman) used to playing with the experienced girls that we have coming back and then also getting everybody used to their roles and getting comfortable. Once that happened, we started really clicking and playing well.“
Finally comfortable in their roles, the Lady Trojans showed the potential that Click was sure they had coming into the season, running off seven straight victories before losing a heartbreaker at Kings, 52-51 on Jan. 9.
The Kings game was the third in what would prove to be perhaps the most difficult stretch of basketball for the Lady Trojans had to face all season.
“Now, we’ve just gone through a tough stretch where we played eight games in 17 days and that was difficult and challenging mentally and physically playing that many games in that span.”
Glen Este played CHCA, Milford, Clermont Northeastern, at Kings, Walnut Hills, Georgetown, at Turpin and Anderson all between Jan. 3 and Jan. 19. During that stretch, the Lady Trojans rose to the challenge, competing in every game, going 5-3, with the three losses coming by a combined seven points.
In the midst of the first full week without a game since the last week of 2012, the Lady Trojans are rejuicing and preparing for a stretch run as they prepare for their last few games of the regular season with different players playing for different things.
“We have an interesting mix on our roster with three seniors, two freshman, two sophomores and we have three juniors, so we have a lot to play for,” Click said.
“Everybody has a different position. The seniors are winding down, but we have so many young players that their job is to continue to learn and get better, so that’s what we’re going to try do and finish strong. We’re not going to be satisfied with where we’re at, but we’re not going to be disappointed that we’ve let a few things slip away. We’re going to keep trying to win as many games as we can.”
The Lady Trojans have five games left on their schedule beginning with a showdown with Loveland on Jan. 26. They wrap up their regular season with a test against the same Kings team they lost to on Jan. 9 — a game that could propel the Lady Trojans into that upper echelon of teams in the area.
Elite or not, there is no denying that the Glen Este program has taken the steps necessary to get into the conversation.
“I think we’re close,” Click said of his team. “A couple more stops or plays, we could be staring at 15-2 as opposed to 12-5.
“We’re knocking right on the door, so we’re really happy that we’ve pushed it to get back to that level, especially competing in Division I, the highest division in Cincinnati.
“We’re right there. Maybe we haven’t quite gotten there yet, but maybe in the postseason we’ll be able to make some noise.”