New-look Phantoms look to continue winning ways
DE PERE (WLUK) -- The West De Pere girls basketball team has won the last three Bay Conference titles, but this season the Phantoms have a new look.
Gone is head coach Ashley Anthon and conference player of the year Liz Edinger along with Hannah Stefaniak, who graduated. In their places are coach Chris Abaray along with seniors Brehna Evans and Sam Carriveau, who will be the leaders of this year's team.
The biggest transition might fall on Abaray, who's coaching girls for the first time. He coached the North Fond du Lac boys team last season and prior to that he coached boys basketball in Iowa.
Now, he's the leader of a strong program and he's enjoying it in the early stages.
"It's been great," Abaray said. "The girls have been a blast to work with. One thing I can say from my short time coaching girls, they ask way more questions than the boys do, which I think is a great thing because they want to get it right, they want to know."
Players already have a great relationship with their new coach.
"He's great," Carriveau said. "I have a great relationship. We dab all the time."
New coach or not West De Pere is expected to have another successful basketball season and the main reason why, the dynamic senior duo of Evans and Carriveau, two of the better players in the area. Both have the ability to beat their defender off the dribble, shot from 3-point range and set other players up.
Abaray knows it's a luxury to have two players like them.
"It's not an absolute to win basketball games, but you always want to have a player or two that you can lean on when you need to a quick bucket or when you need a stop," Abaray said. "You want to have those players with that high basketball IQ."
Evans broke out in the first game of the season with a career-high 40-point game and is averaging 30.3 points per game. Carriveau is adding 13.7 ppg.
Evans, a St. Cloud State recruit, said she was a little surprised by her 40-point game against Green Bay Southwest.
"I was definitely ready to step into the role this year," Evans said. "I wasn't expecting that, but I'll take it."
While Evans has scored at least 22 points in each game this season, she's not looking to dominate the ball.
"If a team makes a little run I can be selfish, but I also know I can trust other teammates, so if I'm driving in the lane and the other team collapses I trust my teammates to kick to them and make the shot," she said.
Carriveau knows it's time for her and Evans and step up.
"I've been waiting for this for so long to lead this team and have it be mine and Brehna's," Carriveau said. "Because we're seniors we're looked at more from other teammates to kind of step up a little bit. We trust our other teammates, but we have conversations, like, 'Yeah, we have to take this game,' like we got to go, but we do trust our other teammates out there with us."
With Abaray by their side, it's now Evans' and Carriveau's time to lead the way.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay