Purdy's youth a blessing and a curse
Lady Eagles look for balanced growth
Purdy coach Eli Ernst knows that he is in the unusual position coaching a varsity girls basketball program with a very young roster.
The Lady Eagles (6-6) start one junior, three sophomores and one freshmen, and their bench rotation is equally as young.
"We are a very young, but improving team," Ernst said. "As a coach, you need patience. With a young team, they have to learn to play with each other and gain confidence."
While Purdy lacks the true senior leadership, several players are stepping up to fulfill those roles.
The Lady Eagles are led by junior Jayse Henderson, who runs the point.
"She goes all out each and every night," Ernst said. "Her leadership extends off the floor as well. She is always trying to help other get better."
Desirie Ennis has shown spurts of being dominate on the hardwood. She leads the team in rebounds and free throw percentage.
Courtney White and Andrea Humphrey have been active on the defensive end for the Lady Eagles. White is averaging five steals a game.
Rion Boyd and Sami House come off the bench and provide valuable minutes. During Friday's loss to Pierce City, the duo combined to score 17 points off the bench.
"I thought we took a step toward maturity against Pierce City," Ernst said. "With a young team, you have to bring them along slow and build upon every game and gain the confidence that you can win every time you take the floor."
The Lady Eagles play in the Galena Tournament this week. They opened with Lutie on Tuesday night and will play Cassville or Wheaton in the second round.
"It should be a good tournament for us," Ernst said. "We need to stay focused on taking the next step."