In many ways, Jodie Karsak’s cupboard is busting at the seams.
The Lady Panthers’ depth is grouped with an ability to score from multiple spots, arguably the longest roster the program has ever seen as well as the possibility that almost any player could take over a game.
Having won two straight after finishing third in the Lady Firebird Classic at Lawrence Free State, the Derby coach wants her players to refine those skills into a collaborative approach.
“I tell the girls, ‘if you execute our offense and play great defense, we can be up 20 to 30 points by the time the fourth quarter rolls around,’” Karsak said. “It’s doing that more than thinking you have to be up by 25 points by the end of the first quarter. You want to let the game play out and we get sped up so much because we think we have to get ahead so fast.”
Derby (11-2) blew past Hutchinson, 56-26, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, and smothered an upstart Salina South roster, 42-18, just three days later.
Outside of a slow first quarter against the Salthawks last week, Karsak said she saw her girls take what was given to them rather than forcing difficult shots.
Freshmen Addy Brown and Maryn Archer joined senior Heather Mills with nine points apiece in its win in Salina. While Derby was limited to just 17 second-half points, Karsak said it did a good job dealing with a ball-control offense from its opponent.
“We know going into playoffs, it can come down to knowing how to execute [against multiple styles],” Karsak said. “We need to all be on the same page and if we can do those things, we feel we can do some great things.”
Three undefeated teams stand above Derby in the Class 6A West playoff standings. With two losses it sits just above Washburn Rural (11-3) in the chase for home-court advantage in the state playoffs.
“We need everyone to show up every game,” Karsak said reflecting on how they can improve after their third-place finish in Lawrence. “[Against Salina South], we had people make plays and even if they weren’t making baskets, they had opportunities to impact the game.”
at Salina South (Feb. 7)
DERBY 10 15 8 9 – 42
SASO 5 8 0 5 – 18
LADY PANTHERS: Archer 9, Brown 9, Mills 9, Nilles 7, Boettjer 5, Schomp 3
COUGARS: Janda 5, Maxton 4, Peterson 3, Weis 3, Franco 2, Arnold 1
at Hutchinson (Feb. 4)
DERBY 6 17 20 13 – 56
HUTCH 5 5 8 8 – 26
LADY PANTHERS: Nilles 19, Cobbins 11, Boettjer 9, Archer 8, Kennedy 4, Grunden 2, Schomp 2, Jackson 1