Frank Sinatra once sung about having “High Hopes”. It was used as a campaign song for John F. Kennedy’s successful presidential campaign in 1960.
“Very high hopes” is what Joe Sigrist describes the upcoming season for his Valley Tigers’ girls basketball squad.
Coming off a record-setting 2013-14 year, the Tigers welcome back three returning starters (seniors Grace VanderWeide and Whitney Fuller, and sophomore Hannah Fuller) and three more letterwinners in Emily Smith, Courtney Carr and Lexi Merritt. VanderWeide is an excellent All-Stater who is unafraid of making the big plays in games that matter. Merritt, a junior guard, is regarded by Sigrist as a sharp shooter that can help stretch opponents’ defenses.
Valley will be looking for depth from their sophomore class to solidify their bench.
The Tigers are ranked 4th in the IGHSAU preseason Class 5A poll.
West Des Moines Valley Tigers
2013-14 Record (overall, conference): 22-2, 5-1
Class, Conference: 5A, CIC – Western Division
Head Coach: Joe Sigrist, 4th season, 69-34 overall (36-9 in 2 yrs at Valley)
Assistant Coaches: Chris Larson, Kelli Morgan, and Molly McClelland
Returning players and positions: Grace VanderWeide (G), Hannah Fuller (G), Whitney Fuller (G, Lexi Merritt (G), Emily Smith, Courtney Carr
Newcomers: Mackenzie Ward, Casey Carr, Leah Lodermeier, Jadyn Loecke, Jamie Feldt
Players lost to graduation: Madi Agey, Kasey Feldt, Taylor Steil
Key games on schedule: Dowling (2), Johnston (2), Waukee, SE Polk, Ankeny Centennial, Iowa City West
Team Goals: Repeat as CIC Conference Champs and win the 5A State Title
Interesting story lines: VanderWeide committed to continue her playing career at Missouri State. She is the first Valley GBB player in sometime to play for a Division I school, according to Sigrist. Last season was Valley’s first trip to the state tournament since 2007 (10th appearance overall)
Follow on social media: @ValleyGirlsBB (Twitter)