Maumee Girls Basketball Staying Sharp In Summer

Maumee’s Reign Hurt pulls down a rebound against Otsego. MIRROR PHOTO BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER

BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Tipoff for the next girls basketball season might be about five months away, but Maumee has been hard at work over the summer, participating in two leagues.

The Panthers have taken part in the Port Clinton 3-on-3 league and the Rossford Summer League. Both leagues ended in June, with Maumee going 12-3 in the Port Clinton league and 7-1 in the Rossford league.

“It’s a great way to stay in the competitive mindset outside of the season,” said Maumee coach Rafael Soler. “I really like seeing what our team is capable of when the offense is less structured and they have a little more freedom to just make plays.”

The Panthers capped off the Rossford league last week with blowout wins over Otsego and the host Bulldogs, both teams they’ll face in the Northern Buckeye Conference this season.

For senior Lucy Porter, getting that experience while facing conference opponents was invaluable this summer.

“These games are probably the most important because the one thing on our mind this year is winning the (Northern Buckeye Conference),” Porter said. “Obviously, with a couple of these teams in our league and the 3-on-3, these games are really important.”

This was the third year Maumee has participated in the Rossford league and the first year for the Port Clinton league.

It also marks the final summer for Porter, who will try to go out with a bang this season before playing college basketball. In last week’s Rossford league games, Porter was joined by returning varsity teammates Autumn Gugger, Izzy Yancy and Reign Hurt, while Charley Bischoff and Haley Jacquay were back on the court after a year away.

“There’s a group of five of us who have played together since fifth grade,” Porter said. “With everyone showing up, it’s fun. Of course it’s hard work, but we have fun.”

Soler said his biggest takeaway for the summer was the aggressiveness of the defense, adding that playing with more grit and toughness is something he’s focused on this offseason.

Adding to the defense will be new varsity assistant Brad Kuron, who came over from the boys team. While this will be Soler’s third top assistant in three years, he said it’s been a “seamless transition” for Kuron.

“He is going to bring a lot of experience and knowledge to our staff,” Soler said. “It has been huge to have him so involved in our summer plans and will only help form bonds with the players that are so necessary to have a successful season.”

Porter added, “I really like the way he reads defense and I’m excited for what he’s going to put into our defense.”

The Panthers shocked many people by going 13-9 last season, including an 8-5 mark in the NBC.

If this summer was any indication, those win totals could climb even more this season.

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