Revamped ACCC women to take court

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Members of the 2009-2010 Allen County Community College women’s basketball team are (left to right), front row, Danielle Best, Kynesha Nisbett, Maurissa Shaffer, Lacey Thomas, Shayla Clark, Meghan Atchison; back row, Aeriss McNeese, Charlsie Bahret, Dysyan Malone, Jazmynn Johnson, Breanna Shaw, Miranda Mock, Jennifer House.

More athletic and more physical than a year ago is what a 12-freshman player lineup brings for Allen County Community College’s women. The ACCC women’s basketball team has just one holdover from last year’s 5-26 season.
“We decided the program needed to head into a different direction and for a multitude of reasons only one of the five freshmen from last year returns for us,” said Andy Hamilton, second-year head coach.
“Yes, we have 12 freshmen but we’re more athletic than last year. There’s a lot of special ‘It’ qualities about this year’s team. And yes, we will make a lot of freshman mistakes and be inconsistent at times but believe me, this team will be competitive.”
And that’s what Hamilton is looking for in the 2009-2010 basketball season. After going 2-16 and finishing last in the Jayhawk Eastern Division, Hamilton and the Red Devils are looking to get out of the conference basement.
“The Jayhawk East has more depth to it from top to bottom this season. There are no nights off in this conference. This is the conference you want to play in because of the quality of basketball played here,” Hamilton said.
In the recent Jayhawk East coaches’ preseason poll, Allen County was picked to finish eighth. Labette at Parsons was picked to win the Jayhawk East.
“I believe we’re better than eighth and more important our players don’t just think we’re better but they believe it also. They believe they can play with anybody on the court.”
Allen County opens the season Monday against the Oklahoma Wesleyan junior varsity in Bartlesville, Okla. The home-opener is Nov. 10 against Missouri Valley junior varsity.
“I’m a firm believer that speed kills and you look at the teams in our conference that are successful and quickness is a factor. You need great guard play and we believe we have some good guards to match up against anyone in the conference.
“We’ll press people and shoot a lot of threes. It’s going to be more fun to play and watch. The kids are enjoying the way we’re playing and we totally revamped the offense to a more run-and-gun style.”
The lone sophomore on the ACCC women’s squad this year is 5-10 forward Jennifer House. House isn’t with the basketball team right now because she’s on the ACCC volleyball team headed to the playoffs.
“Jennifer is a great leader and having an impact on the freshmen as she watches practices. She’s been vocal and a motivator. What a sophomore to have back,” Hamilton said.
House scored 258 points for the Red Devils a year ago, shooting 41 percent (84-203) from the field. She had 35 steals and 20 assists. House delivered at defensive rebounding, collecting 123 of her total 176 rebounds at that end. She shot 64 percent, 89 of 140, from the free-throw line.
Freshmen on the squad are 5-5 guard Shayla Clark of Junction City, 5-9 forward Charlsie Bahret of Silver Lake, 5-8 guard Meghan Atchison of Burlingame, 6-foot forward Breanna Shaw of Killeen, Texas, 5-5 guard Maurissa Shaffer of Garnett, 5-9 forward Miranda Mock of Wichita, 5-9 guard Dysyan Malone of Enid, Okla., 5-7 guard Lacey Thomas, Edmond, Okla., 5-10 forward Danielle Best of Maineville, Ohio, 5-5 guard Aeriss McNeese of Junction City, 5-7 guard Kynesha Nisbett of McKinney, Texas, and 6-1 post player Jazmynn Johnson of Junction City.
Also new to the ACCC program is assistant coach Jastin Flenory. Flenory, a native of Ardmore, Okla., played basketball at East Central University in Ada, Okla., and holds school records for single game and career steals.
Flenory has a bachelor of science degree in athletic training and a master of education degree in sports administration.
“We have depth at the guard spot and we’re out to wear people out. There’s a learning curve for freshmen because they come in thinking ‘it’s only junior college’ and find out it’s tougher and they have to be tougher — physically and mentally,” Hamilton said.
Among the strengths of the Red Devils, according their coach, is the conditioning of the players. He said the Red Devils were in great physical shape and “that will allow us to give ourselves an opportunity to win games late.”
With better shooters on this year’s team, Hamilton said the Red Devils have four players — Shaw, Best, Malone and Nisbett — who can shoot three-point field goals. Plus free throw shooting should improve.
“We should be able to spread defenses out and with the quickness we have at the guard spot, we can beat people off the dribble and penetrate to the basket,” Hamilton said.
House will be a big part of the inside game as a forward. Hamilton said House has a good basketball IQ and “takes care of the dirty work such as rebound, play tough defense and can score around the basket or shoot from outside.”
Look for Shaw, Mock, Bahret, Malone and Best working the baseline for Allen County. Shaw is a gifted offensive player who presents matchup problems for other teams because she can shoot the three-pointer and work inside on the block.
Malone has stepped up as the freshman leader with a great work ethic, Hamilton said. She’ll play at guard and small forward to create mismatches.
“Dysyan is a player that refuses to lose. She shoots the ball extremely well and has worked hard on her ball handling,” Hamilton said.
Mock provides some stability with team chemistry, Hamilton said, and Bahret is a team morale booster. Both are great program players to have, who work hard doing whatever the team needs.
Best is known for her outside shooing and strong basketball IQ but won’t be eligible to play until after January. Best was at Fort Scott Community College last year but missed playing because of a back injury. “She’s got transfer issues but will be a big contributor second semester,” Hamilton said.
The force in the middle will be Johnson at 6-1 with a big body inside. Johnson is athletic and runs the floor well, Hamilton said.
“Jazmynn is maturing as a player as she hasn’t realized her potential. She did not play basketball her senior year in high school. She’ll be a presence in the paint for us which we lacked last year,” Hamilton said.
A driving force for the Red Devils this season is point guard Lacey Thomas. Thomas is quick and handles the basketball very well with a “great crossover” dribble.
“Lacey isn’t about scoring. She’s a great manager of the game and distributes the ball to the open player. She creates opportunities for her teammates to score and a great one-on-one defensive player. The best defensive guard I’ve coached,” Hamilton said.
Nisbett is the most gifted athlete on the team, Hamilton said. The guard shoots, handles the ball and defends well. “There’s not too many flaws in her game.” Plus, she fits into the Red Devils’ up-tempo style of play, the coach said.
The Red Devils will open the season without Thomas and Nisbett. Hamilton said Thomas won’t play Monday because of team violations. Nisbett has an ankle sprain putting her on the sidelines for two weeks.
McNeese has been nicknamed “the gladiator” by her coach because she’s strong and quick, able to play inside or outside. “She makes things happen.”
Shaffer is another point guard for ACCC with tremendous quickness. Hamilton said “her motor’s always running” and Shaffer defends well.
Clark and Atchison give the Red Devils more depth at the guard spots. Clark is one of the hardest working kids on the team, trying to make the transition to college basketball. Atchison is a player who can go in as a shooting guard or a small forward and is a solid defender, Hamilton said.

Allen County Community College
Women’s Basketball
2009-2010 Schedule

Nov. 2 — Oklahoma Wesleyan JV, Bartlesville, Okla., 5 p.m.
Nov. 6 — LSU-Eunice, Eunice, La., 8 p.m.
Nov. 7 — SW Tennessee, Eunice, La., 2 p.m.
Nov. 10 — Missouri Valley JV, 6 p.m.
Nov. 13 — Northeast Oklahoma College-Enid, 6 p.m.
Nov. 14 — Cottey College, 6 p.m.
Nov. 16 — Butler, 6 p.m.

Nov. 20 — Garden City, Enid, Okla., 5 p.m.
Nov. 21 — Oklahoma Baptist JV, Enid, Okla., 2 p.m.
Nov. 30 — Butler, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 2 — Johnson County, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 5 — Cowley County, 5 p.m.
Jan. 8 — NEO, Coffeyville, 9 p.m.
Jan. 10 — Cloud County, Coffeyville, 11 a.m.
Jan. 13 — Fort Scott, 6 p.m.
Jan. 16 — Highland, 6 p.m.
Jan. 18 — Kansas City, Kan., 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 — Neosho County, 6 p.m.
Jan. 23 — Coffeyville, 5 p.m.
Jan. 27 — Labette, 6 p.m.
Jan. 30 — Independence, 6 p.m.
Feb. 1 — Johnson County, 6 p.m.
Feb. 3 — Cowley County, 6 p.m.

Feb. 6 — Fort Scott, 2 p.m.
Feb. 10 — Highland, 5 p.m.
Feb. 13 — Kansas City, Kan., 6 p.m.
Feb. 17 — Neosho County, 6 p.m.
Feb. 20 — Coffeyville, 6 p.m.
Feb. 24 — Labette, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 27 — Independence, 6 p.m.
Home games in bold.