Tyler Tassell, head coach of the Carroll High School girls basketball team, and his staff briefly considered canceling their varsity games this season to keep the young team from getting discouraged.
Tyler Tassell, head coach of the Carroll High School girls basketball team, and his staff briefly considered canceling their varsity games this season to keep the young team from getting discouraged.

November 17, 2015

The Carroll High School girls basketball squad is young but motivated to compete at the varsity level this season, the school district’s athletic director said Monday night.

Carroll school board members were asked to contemplate cancelling the varsity games — and play just junior varsity and freshman games — when the coaching staff had doubts about the team’s ability this year and the effect another dismal season might have on the program.

The team’s record in the past three seasons is 8-54 under head coach Tyler Tassell.

The team won just one game last season, but Athletic Director Keith Stribe struck an optimistic tone at Monday’s school board meeting — he watched the girls win three of four exhibition matches this past weekend in Atlantic.

“I was actually impressed with what I saw,” Stribe said. “I think they actually surprised the coaches a little bit with how they handled themselves.”

Freshman girls comprise nearly half of the 17-player team. It has three juniors and no seniors competing this year. Two of the girls have played varsity ball before.

“When thinking about how our current team could experience the most growth and success this season, the idea of playing only a JV and freshman season was considered,” Tassell wrote to the Times Herald this morning. “After multiple joint discussions, the coaching staff and players at Carroll High School are confident it is in their best interest to compete as a varsity team. Our coaching staff and young squad are excited for the challenges we will face playing in one of the best girls basketball conferences in the state.”

Stribe said he quizzed at least four former players who chose not to be part of the team this year. He said two of them “butted heads” with Tassell, one has dedicated her spare time to weight-lifting, and one injured her knee.

“I’ve coached long enough over the years — there’s going to be some kids that don’t see eye-to-eye with you,” Stribe said of one of the players. “I think she just said she didn’t want to go to open gym and play basketball every day like he wanted her to.”

School board member Jen Munson suggested Monday that the coaches create more basketball training camps for grade-school girls to help rebuild the program.

But Stribe said this morning it’s just a matter of time before talented young players reach high school.

The coaches “are doing what we need to do,” Stribe said. “There’s younger talent coming. Everybody has their down time and up time.”

The board did not take any action, which means the girls’ varsity schedule remains intact. Their first game is Monday versus Atlantic in Carroll.