2017-18 Girls High School Basketball Season Preview
By: HENRY MILLER
(DONNA) — It will be a new-look Bravettes basketball team this year.
Instead of the running Donna High squad the team had last year, spreading the offense and playing a fast-paced penetrate and shoot style of basketball, this year’s squad will be more methodical and will focus heavily, maybe more so than in the past, on solid defense.
“If you can’t play defense, I don’t care what you can do offensively, said Kevin Kromer, who has been at the helm since 2010 for the Donna girls basketball team and has led them to six postseason appearances. “I think we will have to be extremely disciplined on offense and aggressive on defense, maybe not full court, but we will need to force the opponents to execute in a half-court game. I don’t see us running with anyone.”
“We have to make the other teams work hard for every shot and take pride in our effort. We can’t get sloppy or lazy. That will kill us.”
The Bravettes finished fourth in District 32-5A last year and advanced to the postseason, falling in the bi-district round. It was the sixth time in eight years that Kromer took his team to the postseason.
They haven’t advanced, however, to the area round during that span.
“They expect to make the playoffs, but we have to get those expectations a little higher and get past bi-district,” Kromer said. “I think there’s a mental block there where we don’t look past our goals – maybe we’ve set them a little too low and are ok with just getting in. I think there needs to be an overwhelming desire to get to the next round, to get that taste.”
The Bravettes lost seven seniors from last year’s team but returns five letter winners. Leading the way will be post player Miranda Sandoval. Kromer said she’s not a center, but more of a power forward and she will be a key player to help the team get good, high-percentage shots.
“She rebounds, she drives to the hole, she’s physical – like a bull in a china shop,” Kromer said.
“They will also be looking for leadership with Brianna Quesada, another returner. Brianna’s sister Bianca got injured during volleyball season and will have surgery this week on her knee.” Kromer said he doesn’t know when – or if – she’ll be able to return this year.
Offensively, Kromer expects a lot of movement from the team and methodical offense that will look for the right shot.
“This is going to be a big team effort with more screening, more pick and rolls and a simpler offense,” he said. “We’re not as athletic but if we can work as a team we will get open shots. Of course we will try to run but we won’t be as deep on the bench.”
Kromer is hoping that the players who moved up from last year’s 13-1 district championship junior varsity team will be able to contribute. None of them likely will be able to replace star center Melanie Arenas, one of the team’s graduates who is now playing college volleyball.
Donna plays at Juarez-Lincoln to open the season at 7:30 on Tuesday.
“They are used to winning and they have basketball sense so it’s not like I’m going to have to teach them those types of things,” he said. “Right now everybody but the seniors are available for JV if they can’t cut it. I’m giving them this game to see who can cover the floor on defense to play the position. There’s only one senior who can’t move down so hopefully that will be enough motivation.”