Terry English has had an impressive run as the Bishop Miege girls basketball coach as he enters his 40th season at the helm.
The Lady Stags went a perfect 25-0 last season on their way to their 19th state title in program history. However, this team will be without seven of those players who were lost to graduation. Key returners are seniors Hunter Bentley and Ashley MacDonald.
“It was fun to have a lot of upperclassmen that were super good, who knew what they were doing,” Bentley said of last year’s team. “Most of them played club basketball, so they liked to play fast. It was fun to get to play like that and play upper-level competition.”
Bentley learned from those seven seniors she needs to help keep everybody together on the team during games. Even though they went undefeated, the Lady Stags weren’t always ahead in games.
English said some of those seniors who departed didn’t play as much as some of the returning underclassmen. He thinks his squad is in pretty good shape.
This team will be much younger than last year’s squad, but Bentley is excited to play with the younger talent and getting them ready to play against the strong competition of the Eastern Kansas League.
The biggest threat to Miege should be St. Thomas Aquinas. Those two rivals will square off on Jan. 3 and then again on Jan. 13. The road to Salina may be a little bumpier this year, but Miege should make their 34th state appearance come March.
Miege always has a target on their back and English said it’s a good thing since it means they’re doing something right.
“We’ve already talked about it and we don’t look at it like that,” English said. “We don’t worry about the streak. I told them they’re going to lose someday and somebody is going to beat you and that’s the way it is. We just start over and we just have to play good basketball.”
The streak English is referring to is the 60-game winning streak they have entering the season. They also have won three straight state titles. Since the program started in 1976, English has been the only head coach the girls team has ever known.
“It’s fun, it’s a new group of kids, it’s a new challenge,” English said of what keeps him going. “Each year, the team has a different personality and it’s fun to try and take that personality and make them winners.”
Bishop Miege opens their season on Friday at home against Sumner Academy before heading to the McPherson Roundhouse on Dec. 9, with a showdown against the Bullpups.