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Rita Clancy.jpg The Sedona Red Rock High girls basketball team has a new coach and a new plan.

Pressure the basketball. Then shoot the basketball. And have fun doing it.

 By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers
________________

The Sedona Red Rock High girls basketball team has a new coach and a new plan.

Pressure the basketball. Then shoot the basketball. And have fun doing it.

“You have to pressure the ball and score points off turnovers,” Head Coach John Cunningham said.

Cunningham, named head coach earlier this week, is getting ready for his first summer basketball experience with the girls.

While sitting at the counter in his kitchen, he pondered the “what is your biggest concern” question.

“Turnout,” he answered, as he got a glass of water.

“Numbers-wise, the program is not where I want it to be. We ended the season last year with 13 girls — we need more than that,” Cunningham said.

He has no clue why there are not more girls playing basketball for the Scorpions.

“I want kids to come out and play. If they’re not playing basketball they won’t get better,” Cunningham said.

The summer basketball schedule is set to begin Monday, June 4.

And there are plenty of things to work on, even with 13 players.

Along with pressure, one of the other goals this summer is to have the girls work on shooting the basketball.

“I’m going to bring everything in the book to practice so we can work on our shooting,” Cunningham said.

He also wants to put up twice as many shots as the opposition.

“I’ve never played that way,” Cunningham admitted.

“Why set up an offense when you can rebound and go and fire shots up?” he said.

Cunningham also believes that his team must play good defense in order to play the way he wants to play.

“If we can play good defense, get turnovers and fast break, then we will get shots up, and then we will be successful,” Cunningham said.

After taking a drink of that cold glass of water, the newly appointed coach added that the Scorpions have a veteran team, as they only lost one player to graduation, Whitney Oestmann.

Some of the top returnees for the Scorpions are Courtney Fitzpatrick, Bobbi Hillman, Danielle Holman, Danny Jovanovic and Marijana Jovanovic. All of them will be seniors next year.

Also returning are junior point guard Breanne Cunningham, sophomores Katie Adams, Ashley LoDuca and Rita Clancy.

“I’m going to count on all of them to get it done,” Cunningham said.

As the afternoon wore on, the sound of buzz saws, drills and hammers echoed from outside his home.

He began to ponder on something else.

Do the Scorpions have the tools within the basketball program to play the way he wants, too?

“I believe we have enough athletic talent to play this way. And, as I said, they are a veteran team, so the change shouldn’t be too difficult,” Cunningham said.

During summer basketball, Cunningham wants the girls to think about goals they can try to achieve next season as a team and individually.

“A good goal for our team would be to win a state playoff game. The program has never won a game at state,” Cunningham said.

The girls basketball team has made the state tournament five times in its history, unfortunately going 0-5.

Even though the girls will learn some new things this summer, Cunningham will stress one thing over everything else.

“I want the girls to just have fun. That is the most important thing to me, and to them,” Cunningham said.



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