Story by Daniel Woods

MARTINSBURG, W.Va – The Musselman girls basketball team is already finding its motivation in its first year under head coach Tim Potter.

The Lady Applemen may have struggled in recent years but an strong start to the season has been driven in part by a desire to prove the doubters wrong.

“They’ve been kind of written off already by a lot of people. They hear it in their own school. Its a program that has won eight or nine games in two years. They hear it all. ‘You’re going to be last this year.’ they’re pretty motivated. They hear it all,” Potter said.

For a first-year head coach to have this much success to start the season, it takes the team buying into the process early. Potter says that’s exactly what has allowed for a strong opening two weeks.

“Previously, some of the girls were kind of half in, half out. I think I got my point across that it’s a new leaf. It’s a new slate. a lot of emphasis on the offseason coming and I think they’re seeing some results,” he said.

Potter believes that his team’s success begins on the defensive end of the floor. With some high-caliber athletes on the roster, he does his best to put them in situations that will allow them to shut down the opposition’s attack.

“We have a lot of length and speed so I’m trying to utilize our strengths there so we do have that going for us naturally. Defensively, we’re a team that likes to pressure you and honestly, there really isn’t one set defense that we look at,” he said, “There’s a lot of defense that I like to throw out there. It confuses some teams. We’ve got the length and we have a little bit of depth off the bench as well. If you’re able to put it together and run different defenses at a high level, it really is hard for teams to adjust when we’re pressing.”

That defensive effort starts for the Lady Applemen with Nevaeh Thompson and Jasmine Morris providing pressure on the opponent’s ballhandlers. Potter is counting on Morris to make a big impact on the offensive end as well with freshman point guard Emily Stevens running the show.

The Musselman girls basketball team returns to action on December 16 to take on Buckhannon-Upshur.