Whitko season full of surprises

SOUTH WHITLEY — It wasn’t derailed. Maybe just thrown off course slightly.Whitko’s girls basketball team posted a record in 2012-13 of 7-14. When the season began though, it already felt like the Lady Wildcats were playing from behind.Whitko was thrown a curve ball early in the season as it had to deal with injuries to a pair of key players. If that was not enough, the team was already staring down being without six seniors who graduated in 2012.The injuries early were to Bailee Juillereat, who blew out her knee in the second game of the year and was lost for the season; and Reghan Craig, who broke her patella against Southern Wells.Despite these setbacks, the Lady Wildcats were undeterred. Coach Brandon Bradley's team quickly established a defensive attitude, one that would serve the squad well in match-ups with tough foes.Whitko averaged 45.2 points allowed on the defensive side of the ball. The Lady Wildcats also averaged that on offense. This even average on both ends of the court underscored how many of the defeats the team suffered were close.Overall, Bradley said his team did well against a balanced schedule.“We played some good teams,” he said. “We faced a lot of adversity. We didn’t necessarily overcome the adversity but we didn’t back down from it. We had several games where we fought and fought but couldn’t get over the hump but we still did not quit and I commend them for that.”Whitko will return eight letter winners next year. Lettering 11 players this year was not something Bradley thought would happen, but he said it could help the team next year. Still, the Lady Wildcats will miss those who are graduating.Looking to the future, Bradley sees the possibilities of progress. Youth will also be served on the squad next year.“We will be younger, but we will also be deeper, and that can be a good combination,” he said.To read more about the Whitko Lady Wildcats' season, see the Feb. 20 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.