GALION — The Galion Tigers girls basketball has had a rough go of things since joining the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division in 2014-2015. That season, the girls squad finished 3-19 overall and 0-13 in league play under head coach Bryce Lehman. Last year, head coach Nick Vukovich took over the reins and the Tigers improved a few games. Vukovich’s squad ended their season at 5-18 but failed to win a conference game for a second straight year, going 0-14.
This season, coach Vukovich is hoping to turn that all around, entering his second season with his staff here in Galion. The Tigers will have to do so without Taylor Valentine. Valentine walked the stage last year to receive her diploma and now attends Heidelberg University in Tiffin. She was the leading scorer and rebounder for the team in ‘15-‘16 and a two-time second team MOAC Red Division all-conference player. Gracie Groves will also be absent from the courts this season as she will be out with a torn ACL. Groves was honorable mention all-conference last season and will hopefully be healed in time to suit up for coach Doug Hunt on the softball diamond this spring. Coach Vukovich will see the return of Jaime Ehrman this season to his squad.
“We will need to improve our rebounding and work towards reducing our turnovers,” said Vukovich in an email. As far as the strenghts for the girls squad, Vukovich says, “we have the speed, we have the team chemistry and we have youth on our side.”
Last season, the MOAC Red was dominated by both the North Union Wildcats and the Pleasant Spartans. Both teams finished at 13-1 in the league and created a clear divide between themselves and third place Buckeye Valley (8-6). Pleasant even made it all the way to the finals of the OHSAA State Tourney, falling to Columbus Affricentric, 59-37.
Coach Vukovich offered up his thoughts on what he hopes the girls can accomplish this year.
“(We’re) looking for our first conference win since joining the MOAC and feel we can accomplish that. Our non-conference schedule is competitive and should help us as we will position ourselves to be in those games.”
The regular season kicks off for the girls squad on Friday Nov.5 at home against the Crestline Bulldogs in non-conference play.