The 2012-13 season is a new year with a new coach for the Illinois Valley Central girls basketball team which, in many ways, is a new team.
"I think they are grasping what I expect of them and what I want them to do," first year coach Marc Lowe said. "They come to practice focused everyday and communicate well with what's going on. If they don't understand something, they ask questions.
"I'm very pleased with how fast they are learning my system."
The team will need to make up for the loss of last year's senior class of Emma Hoerr, Hannah Johnson, Jenna Noland, Shae Schmick, McKenzie Schroeder and Jessica Thomas.
"Our seniors are stepping up and being vocal," Lowe said. "They are setting the precedence for the future here in the system and what I want them to do. They want to go out on a good note."
The seniors this year are Anna Parr, Brooke Rudolph, Bria Kohlman, Brenna Garner and Sarah Lawson.
"I think we are very deep," Lowe said of the roster. "After being with the girls for awhile now, I think our bench is going to be very deep. I think we will see some good things from this team. They are learning the game and starting to grasp what I'm teaching them."
The team will also benefit from the help of juniors Candis Rudolph, Hallie Shirley, Tori Thompson and Jamie Mann.
"They come in and they are ready to go and know what I expect of them," Lowe said. "They do stuff on their own. When I say something they have the leaders there who repeat it and run to it and are ready to go.
"There is no hanging of heads, they are happy to be there and want to be there."
Rounding out the squad are sophomores Erica Larson and Demi Johnson.
"I think the thing now is that they are a little nervous right now because they know the season is getting closer," Lowe said. "I think we have confidence in practice, but they'll be nervous for a game. I always thing everybody should be at least a little nervous before a game.
"I think getting that initial game out of the way will be good, and we will be a fun team to watch."
When the team takes the ball, Lowe said the Ghosts will be very adaptable.
"We are going to look to push the ball a lot and are going to run some offenses where they are read offenses," Lowe said. "It is an option offense but also a motion offense that we read off of. Everything we are doing is predicated to reading the defense."
Defensively, the team will run a mix of sets depending on the opponent.
Page 2 of 2 - "On the defensive end, we are going to change it up," Lowe said. "We are going to change our defense a lot and try and take away a lot of things. We are going to try to take away strong points from other teams."
While Lowe said he wants the team to be successful on the court during the season, that is not the only place he hopes they win.
"I want the girls to be successful on and off the court and for us to really understand the game," Lowe said. "I want to tighten up the fundamental skills they have and make them understand the game and take their game to the next level. That's my goal for them.
"At the same time, I want them to be successful in the classroom and in life."
Lowe also said he sees the team having a specific strength during the season.
"Our aggressiveness is a strength," Lowe said. "I would also say we are willing to learn. That's a real strength. I think I can draw up a play and they will get it right then and there.
"Our defense is going to be our backbone but I think we are going to be aggressive on both ends. Whatever they do, they go all out."
The team starts the season in the Limestone Tournament Nov. 21, 23 and 24 with times to be announced.
IVC next plays at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 at home against Dixon.
"I think we need to work on our confidence level but it is improving," Lowe said. "We need to have self confidence. I know they have confidence in each other but they need to have self confidence.
"Once you get that and the fundamentals, everything comes full circle after that. I can see the confidence come more and more as we do more drills and get into more basketball settings."