Nov. 10—DANVILLE — Learning how to win can be very difficult.
A year ago, the Danville Vikings girls basketball suffered through an 0-22 season.
"There were a lot of losses, but learning how to deal with them creates character," said Amara McFarland, a returning starter for the Vikings. "We are looking to move forward this season. We are going to keep going and keep pushing.
"We are very excited to get this season started."
Danville coach Glennie Watson acknowledged that his team learned a lot during its winless campaign.
"These kids should have a better identity of what the expectations are for playing at the varsity level this season," said Watson, whose roster features four seniors, two juniors, three sophomore and three freshmen. "We are still trying to fine tune things when it comes to execution and understanding the reads offensively and defensively."
The Vikings will open their season at the North American Lighting girls basketball tournament at Paris High School, playing the host Tigers on Monday night.
"That first game is going to be a very good test. Paris is always fundamentally sound and they have a lot of girls that stay in the gym year-round," Watson said.
After Monday's opener, Danville will play Champaign Central on Tuesday followed by games against Charleston and Terre Haute North on Nov. 18.
"These four games that we play in this tournament will be a very good test," Watson said. "We will find out where we are at as a team. What we do well and what we don't do well. It will also give us some film that we can study, so that we can get back into practice and correct the things that we need to get corrected."
McFarland truly believes this Danville squad will be better than last year's team.
"We learned last year that we have to get better with our communication on the floor," she said. "That was one of the main things. We also have to have good chemistry and starting the year, we're in good shape."
But, what about going forward?
"We just need to focus on what we need to do as a team," she added. "We have to trust the coaches and our teammates at all times."
Offensively, Danville averaged just 20.4 points per game last year and the Vikings season-high was 41 in loss at Peoria Manual.
That's why the Vikings will be building this team with defense.
"I think the strength of this group will be our speed and quickness," Watson said. "I think we will be able to force tempo defensively. We need to create steals and generate some offense off our defense."
Watson has 27 girls total in the program with 21 of those being underclassmen.
"It's very important, especially for our younger girls to build confidence going forward to help build our program back up to where we believe it should be," he said, noting that a few of those freshmen will see time in freshman, junior varsity and varsity basketball games this season.
The first home game for the Vikings will be Monday, Nov. 27 when Danville hosts the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers.