Aubree Schmitt’s teammates better be ready, because the ball is coming.
Schmitt, who led the area in assists last season as a sophomore, is liable to pass from anywhere to anyone.
Note to the rest of the Comets: Have your hands up, or you might catch a ball in the face.
“That’s actually happened a few times,” senior 3-year starter Mary Alice Oswalt said.
Schmitt, a point guard who averaged 4.5 assists per game last season, was surprised to be the area’s leader.
“That was pretty cool,” she said. “I was impressed with myself. I didn’t expect that.”
Schmitt has one pass she likes above all others.
“My favorite thing is the long pass,” she said. “Most of the time to Mary Alice.”
Though Schmitt has proven her passing prowess, fourth-year coach Jay Howell would like to see her do a bit more scoring. Schmitt averaged 3.5 points per game last season.
“We lost 22 points a game to graduation,” said coach Howell, whose team lost standouts Rachel Hageman (11.7 points per game) and Jaimie Hurd (6.9). “Aubree did a lot last year, but this year she’ll probably have to look to put it in the basket a little more.”
Schmitt is ready for more shooting.
“Last year I was too scared, because I was the youngest person on the team,” she said. “It was really nerve-racking.”
“I’m really excited for this year, because I’m a lot closer with the seniors, since I’m a junior. I feel like I fit into the team. I’m not as tense all the time.”
Oswalt is the only returning Comet who averaged more than Schmitt’s 3.5 points per game. Oswalt was Newman’s second-leading scorer last season, averaging 10.5.
The Comets have shortcomings – their tallest players being 5-foot-8 – but have strengths to offset them.
“I think where we don’t have height, we can make up for in other areas,” Oswalt said. “We have a lot of speed. With us being aggressive, and our physicality, we can handle teams’ height.”
Height isn’t everything. That’s what coach Howell is preaching to his team.
“If we can beat them down the court, height doesn’t really matter,” said Schmitt, who was second on the team to Hageman in rebounding at 4.2 per game.
“Everybody’s going to have to decide they want to go get a rebound, because it’s going to be tough,” coach Howell said. “Every time we step on the court, we’re going to be the shorter team, I’m afraid.”
2013-14 Newman Comets
Coach: Jay Howell (4th season, 45-30)
2012-13: 15-12 (9-5 Three Rivers)
Advancement: Lost 50-42 to Riverdale in 2A regional final
Key losses: Hannah Erickson, G; Jaimie Hurd, G; Rachel Hageman, C
Key returners: Kayci Howell, sr., F; Mary Alice Oswalt, sr., F; Aubree Schmitt, jr., G
Opener: vs. Rock Falls, 7:30 p.m. Monday