Jamestown Lady Eagles basketball has spent the off-season making some new and old changes to their team. The most prominent change is E.H. Hirschvogel taking over for Michael Stock as the new head coach of the Lady Eagles.
Hirschvogel is no stranger to the Lady Eagles, coaching the Lady Eagles basketball for 15 years previously. The returning coach has spent the last few years keeping an eye on Jamestown and the progress they have made during his absence. He says that there are three big differences with the Lady Eagles going into the season.
"First of all, I was not the coach last season. I coached the Lady Eagles from the '03-'04 season until the '17-'18 season. I backed off for a few years so I could watch my own kids grow up and play. With the head coaching position still vacant at the end of the summer, I agreed to coach again. The returning girls have had to come in and learn my system and style of play," Hirschvogel said. "Secondly, the team lost 1,000 point scorer Ginna Meisenheimer to graduation. Also, another player from last year's team has moved on to follow other pursuits and we wish her well. Their scoring will be missed but we believe we can bring more of a diverse point of attack this season. Finally, and on a positive note, our bench is deeper this year, with nine girls on the team."
In the 2021-22 season, with only six players on their roster, Jamestown accumulated a 11-13 record, including two four-game winning streaks after New Year's Day. At the Class 1 District 10 Tournament, the Lady Eagles defeated Madison 59-26 in the first round, but fell to eventual champion Pilot Grove 67-32 in the District Semifinals. Hirschvogel says that Pilot Grove will once again be a contender to win the district title and Jamestown's arch rival Prairie Home is a more improved team that will push the Lady Eagles to the limit. The absence of Ginna Meisenheimer will make things more challenging for Jamestown, but Hirschvogel likes the challenge that her absence brings, as it allows the Lady Eagles to showcase their strengths of team speed, ball handling, and shooting.
However, Hirschvogel said that Jamestown will need to overcome some chemistry problems and their height disadvantages to beat some of the best teams on their schedule. Which is something that Hirschvogel says will get better over time.
"Everything starts with leadership. I will be looking to our seniors to set a positive, inclusive, gritty tone. I will ask all the returning players to fold our new players into the mix. Again, Ginna was such a huge percentage of the scoring a season ago. Her departure is going to open the door for everyone on the team to play more of a role this season," Hirschvogel said. "That being said, I think our freshman class will have a huge impact on this team by adding depth. A few of those freshmen will be asked to step up right away and pitch in."
Above everything else, Hirschvogel wants to reestablish a winning culture at Jamestown where the Lady Eagles are viewed as one of the hardest teams to beat. Hirschvogel wants his players to leave everything out on the court and if they do that, the wins will fall in place overtime. It's more than just winning games, it's providing Jamestown with a chance to be great in basketball again.
"My challenge to the girls this year, and every year I've coached is to compete, never backing down from anyone and always playing hard to the final buzzer. I expect teamwork, sportsmanship and for the girls to represent themselves, their school and their community in the best way possible. If we do these things, wins will take care of themselves," Hirschvogel said. " To the Jamestown community, I would love to say how important their support has always been and will be again this season. I think the ladies will be a lot of fun to follow. Big crowds will only make us better. I think we are on the edge of great things at Jamestown, and if the California community wants to come watch us, the more the merrier."
The Lady Eagles tip-off the new season on Nov. 22, on the road vs. St. Elizabeth.