Sanchez rejuvenating Lady Highlanders

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Eureka Springs' Megan Holloway fights for the ball in a game last year.
Charles Chappell /

Ryan Sanchez was hired to coach the Eureka Springs Lady Highlander basketball team on June 11 and he is already busy getting the team ready for the 2018-19 season.

"We have had four practices so far and I had 12 girls on average for each practice," Sanchez said. "Some of them had told me they were going to be on vacation, but we should be back to full strength when we come back from the dead period on July 9. Things went well. We just went over a bunch of the fundamentals and building team unity was the biggest thing we were trying to build out of this."

The Lady Highlanders had nine girls on the team last year. All of them were sophomores. Sanchez hopes to take advantage of that youth.

"The biggest thing that we need to work on is cohesiveness between the girls," Sanchez said. "I feel like if you play as a team, you can go out and accomplish anything. If you have the basic essentials, then you can build something special."

After dressing out nine girls last year, Sanchez is encouraged to see so many Lady Highlanders come out to practice over the summer.

"I hope by bringing in some alumni and hopefully some college players, we can just breathe in some new life to the program," Sanchez said. "I have already talked to some of the girls that went to state in 2008 and they are more than willing to help. They are going to come in during the school year to scrimmage and help me with practice by talking to the girls on what it means to be a Lady Highlander and what it was like to make it to state. When you make it to state as a high school player, it's pretty exciting."

As a recent graduate, Sanchez is making the transition from a player to a coach.

"On the first day of practice, I lost my voice 30 minutes into practice," Sanchez said. "I wasn't even yelling at them. It was more communicating what I wanted to see and talking them through the drills. Playing in college and being around that, I found that communication level needs to be high if you want to be a cohesive team. I'm encouraging the girls to be selfless and learning as much as possible right now."

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