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Girls' basketball Flyers ready to play; return from last year's 17-10 season

After several weeks of practicing and scrimmages, the Lindbergh High School girls' basketball team is fired up and ready for the 2003-2004 season.

"Right now, practice is going pretty good," head coach Bill Thoele told the Call. "After four weeks of practicing, you're ready to play."

The Flyers are coming off a solid 17-10 performance from last season in which they posted a 5-2 mark in Suburban West Conference action.

Lindbergh reached the district championship game where the team suffered a 78-40 loss to Cor Jesu. Yet life for the Flyers may be much different this season as they return two All-Conference selections from last year and possibly could contend for a conference championship.

Juniors Paula Smith and Amy Hake return to the Flyers after combining for more than 28 points a game last season, which resulted in 49 percent of Lindbergh's offense.

Hake led the Flyers in scoring last season with 15.2 points per game, while pulling down 121 rebounds. The All-Conference guard also created 76 assists and three blocked shots.

"Amy needs to shoot and score for us to be in the game," Thoele said. "She's a really good defensive player and has become very selective this year in her shooting."

Two stats from last season that really stand out for Hake are her 40 three-pointers and 112 steals.

"She's a really good defensive player and came up with some big steals last year," Thoele said. "She also had a lot of three's last year."

At the forward position for the Flyers, Smith hammered out 13 points a game, while grabbing 180 rebounds. Smith led the team in blocked shots (25) and also generated 19 steals for the green and gold.

"Paula's one of those kids that works hard and is very coachable," Thoele said. "She's a quiet leader that works hard and it's nice to have a player like that."

Senior guard Kristin King will start at the point guard position and should provide much-needed stability at that role. Last season King averaged 1.6 points per game while yanking down 25 rebounds and whipping up 42 assists.

"Kristin's job is going to be taking care of the ball for us," Thoele said. "She's one of our captains and is definitely one of our leaders this season."

Senior guards Laura Halfmann and Bethany Jockish also will provide solid leadership for the Flyers this season. Thoele looks for Jockish to be a solid rebounding and free-throw threat once she rids herself of the injury bug.

"Bethany's been a little injured, but once she's 100 percent, she'll be in the mix," Thoele said. "She's one of our best rebounders and free-throw shooters on the team."

Jockish averaged 6 points per game last season, while pulling down 67 rebounds. She also generated 47 assists and 43 steals for the Flyers. Halfmann, however, saw limited action and averaged 0.8 points per game, while grabbing 21 rebounds in 18 games.

"Laura's a very smart player and has improved her defense this year," Thoele said. "We'll be playing a three guard offense and she'll definitely be our three-guard."

Sophomore centers Meaghan Endicott and Courtney Kiel both will see a considerable amount of action at the post. Sophomore point guard Laura Therina also should see some action this season.

"Laura (Therina) is a quick player who passes well," Thoele said. "Both Courtney and Meaghan will be a big part of the team this year."

After opening the season at home against Northwest-House Springs, the Flyers will play host to Rockwood Summit at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9.

"They (Rockwood Summit) were down a bit last year," Thoele said. "They appear very young on the roster, but Kathy Blair their head coach will have them ready to play."

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