Freshmen making big strides for OHS girls

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Ottawa High School freshman Emery Keebaugh makes an aggressive move to get off a shot against Bonner Springs.

The Ottawa High School girls basketball program has given freshmen a chance to grow at the varsity level.

This year, Foster Nichols and Emery Keebaugh have made great strides through the season.

“Sometimes I forget they are freshmen,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “Sometimes, they look really, really good. Other times they are freshmen. We are expecting a lot in our program (from them). We have expected a lot from freshmen for several years.”

The freshman duo showed both sides Friday in Ottawa’s 45-40 loss to Bonner Springs. The first half was a bit rough, but they showed their resiliency and athleticism in the second half.

“The freshmen stepped up and had a better (second) half,” Schurman said. “They are trying to figure out how to play at the varsity level. They grew up (Friday) in that second half after having a really rough first half. They are progressing. They give you positive effort and attitude at all times. They have bright futures.”

The Cyclones let another game slip away after having the lead in the second half.

“We have been finding ways to lose,” Schurman said. “We don’t do small things. We did not close out on three straight shots. We missed front ends of one-and-one twice in the fourth quarter. We hit a couple of 3s then we live by them. We don’t have a whole lot of people in the paint to get rebounds. We did not execute on numerous occasions.”

Schurman knows the season is dwindling down but still believes in the Cyclones.

“Basketball is a long season,” he said. “We have to figure out how we can get going again. It is going to be a long three weeks if we can’t.”

Ottawa (4-12) is scheduled to play Tuesday at home against Paola.