Back on the floor

Bloomfield resumes girls basketball program after six-year absence

NORTH BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield High School hasn’t had a girls basketball team for several seasons. If girls at the school wanted to play basketball, they had to be part of the boys team.

This year, a new athletic director and coach Brandy Dunbar made things happen for the girls who wanted to play basketball — the first time in six seasons.

“I’ve had girls come to me, express interest they wanted a girls team,” Dunbar said. “We’ve been trying for the past couple of years. Patty Anderson took over as AD and she helped make it happen.”

Dunbar, a mathematics teacher at the high school, said there was interest in getting a girls team.

“We’ve had enough girls for the past several years that have been interested,” she said. “I’ve got girls to sign up. I’ve given the list of names to people. Nothing came of it. Patty really pushed it, making it happen.”

There are 10 players on the roster and two who played on the boys team last season and a couple with junior high experience.

Fundamentals are the key focus in practices. Dunbar, who is the varsity volleyball coach at Maplewood, coached junior high volleyball and basketball, junior varsity volleyball and varsity softball.

“A high percentage of our team is covering fundamentals,” Dunbar said. “We had to go over what a screen was. How to do a chest pass. How to do a bounce pass. The form for a layup. We had to go over all of that for a high school team because they simply didn’t know.”

The Cardinals are playing a junior varsity schedule this season because most of the team are still learning the game’s basics.

“I’m looking for improvement,” Dunbar said. “We scrimmaged Grand Valley. Everybody, including myself, was impressed. We had one bad little 10-minute run. Other than that, we were right there with them. That’s a good sign. We’re playing a JV schedule. I think we can be competitive with these people.

“They’re not going to know what hit them.”

Grand Valley girls coach Kim Triskett said she talked to her junior varsity coach about the scrimmage. She was glad to hear Bloomfield has fielded a girls team. It’s the first time she can remember since she’s coached the Mustangs that the Cardinals are playing girls basketball in the Northeastern Athletic Conference.

Triskett said Bloomfield had a good number of players come up through the youth programs.

“I know they’ve been trying to place a basketball program,” she said. “It’s really encouraging that they’re getting enough kids involved.

“It’s heading in the right direction.”

Dunbar is hoping by midseason the Cardinals can focus on more than the fundamentals.

“I’m hoping to be able to back off the fundamentals at practice and work on more finesse and work on more plays,” she said. “We have the bare minimum for plays because we need more time for fundamentals. It’s hard for them to remember. Hopefully as we go on the basketball court awareness will increase and help us to do more.”

Right now, Bloomfield is looking forward to the Dec. 5 opener at home against the Lordstown JV team.

“They’ve been doing everything in their power,” Dunbar said. “They’ve been fund-raising, collecting donations. They want to make the most of this experience.

“We’re getting all the girls to show up to practice. The boys, the other week, they had four boys show up. These kids are really dedicated. They want to make this happen, to be as successful as possible.”