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Barton women start Rolfs era this weekend
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There is going to be a lot new for the Barton women’s basketball team this winter. A new coach, a new conference, and some new rules headlining that list.
But things may not be as new as it first appears for the Cougars.
Trevor Rolfs makes his debut at the helm of the Cougars. But he is far from a new face. Rolfs has been the athletic director at Barton for the past five years. He has also been a coach in the Jayhawk Conference, coaching the Pratt men for seven season before becoming the AD at Barton.
As far as the conference goes, it will just be a new format. The 14 teams playing NJCAA Division I in the Jayhawk Conference are now all in one conference. There is no more West and East.
It will all get started tonight for Rolfs and the Cougars when Barton hosts the Best Western/Pizza Hut Classic. The Cougars will play Redland College (Okla.) Friday and Northern Oklahoma-Enid Saturday at the Barton Gym. Both games will tip at approximately 5:30 p.m.
“I’m excited,” Coach Rolfs said of returning to the sideline. “It’s been refreshing and I’ve enjoyed it.”
The new conference format will consist of 19 conference games. Barton, Colby, Cloud County, Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchinson and Seward County will all play each other twice in one half. The Cougars will play Allen County, Butler, Coffeyville, Cowley, Independence, Neosho County, and Pratt once from the other half.
Basically the old West and old East with Pratt and Butler sliding to the East but all teams will be lumped into one conference standings and all will play each other at least once.
Also not new for Barton are some players with starting experience from last year’s 19-10 team. Back is the team’s leading 3-point shooter in Katrina Roenfeldt. The Dodge City sophomore made 58 treys last season and was the second leading scorer at 9.3 points per game.
She will be joined in the backcourt by Dominique Baker. Baker returns to her starting point guard spot where she handed out a team-high 3.0 assists per game and scored 5.9 points per contest.
Keneisha Winfrey started seven games for the Cougars last season and averaged 6.6 points per game. McKinna Kraus also saw starting time for the Cougars. The 6-3 sophomore from Hutchinson started four games and scored 4.7 points and grabbed 3.3 boards per contest.
But for Roenfeldt, her return will be delayed. During the first quarter of the first scrimmage this season Roenfeldt broke her hand. She currently has six screws and a plate in it. Rolfs is hopeful of her return by Thanksgiving.
A new face that Rolfs was counting on was also struck with misfortune. Oreona Brown, a 5-7 freshman from Memphis, looked to be a key contributor for the Cougars. But she torn her ACL during practice recently as is lost for the season.
“We felt like she was going to be a very dynamic player,” Coach Rolfs said of Brown. “She was the kind of player that could give us 20-25 points a night. She just came to a simple jump stop during practice and tore her ACL. That was a big blow.
“Then add Katrina and we are probably down 30-40 points a game right out of the gate. That is an enormous hill to get over. Katrina is our leader. Not only is she our returning leader she is our vocal leader and inspirational leader. She can do some of that from the sidelines but it just isn’t the same.”
That will force the Cougars to focus more on other aspects of the game, especially until Roenfeldt gets back.
“We are going to do some things with smoke and mirrors,” Coach Rolfs said. “We will press some, change up our defense, and just try to keep the other teams guessing a little bit. But to do that we have to be intelligent in how we play.
“A positive out of this is some other kids have gotten some great experience in our scrimmages they may not have otherwise been able to get. That should help us out down the road.”
Also new this year is a series of rule changes. The most notably being four 10-minute quarters for the women’s game. Some other key changes of note will be each team has just four timeouts with only one of those a full timeout.
In addition, the final two minutes of each half a team can advance the ball to half court much like the NBA game with an immediate timeout following a rebound or made basket.