WHEELING - Wheeling Park coach Dee Davis is looking for a few good shooters.
Or, more precisely, just a few people that will shoot.
"In our first scrimmage (against Linsly) we had a lot of shots that we didn't hit and even more open shots that we didn't take," Davis said. "You can't make a bucket if you don't shoot the ball. We're really just in the process of getting them some confidence that if they have an open look, shoot the basketball. Once that comes along, I think we will be fine."
It's understandable when you look at what Park lost to graduation from last year's 14-9 squad.
The Patriots lost Haley Robb and Emily Puskarich, who both averaged more than 20 points per game and ended up playing college basketball.
"Last year we had to girls in Haley and Emily who did so much for the team," Davis said. "A lot of times our girls would drive and kick the ball out to one of them. Now, when they drive, there has to be somebody who is willing to take those shots when they get the ball or we have to drive to the basket and make those shots."
Marissa Tucker, who is going to sign with Wheeling Jesuit, will carry a bulk of the load, but she spent 15 games on the sideline with an injury.
"Losing Marissa didn't help," Davis said. "She was our point guard and our third-leading scorer. Obviously, we have to get her healthy and keep her healthy because she is an important part of our team."
Chloe Robb, Haley's sister, will be in the starting lineup and will be expected to score for the Patriots and Kambrea O'Neal, who had 15 in the regional tournament against Morgantown, will also have to increase her point production for Park to have a successful season.
"We will count on them to become more consistent in terms of scoring," Davis said. "Both are capable of doing that."
Kendra Johnson and Kelsi Johnson, a sister act, will be counted on heavily as well.
"They are both hard-nosed kids," Davis said. "Both have some size and both will give you all they've got. They both have nice shots we just have to get them to take the shots when they are open."
Sydnie Stewart, Skyler Carrington, Tamara Bumgardner and Danielle Kutrovac will also contribute to the nine-person squad.
Davis, who took Park to back-to-back state tiles, later took a break then returned to coaching, said she enjoys the challenge of coaching this team, which has lost two of its main cogs to graduation.
"They do all the drills in practice, and they work hard," Davis said. "It's just about getting them to where they take those drills over into game situations. They are not putting the drills to use when they get into game situations. We open with Brooke and I expect we will have to do some yelling at times. But a coach should be telling a player not to shoot, not to shoot the basketball. We are getting there.
"It's going to be interesting. These girls have a lot of potential that they need to recognize. I think they will."