Hamsley back as head coach for FCHS Print

If you see a familiar face when you look at the bench as the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders’ basketball games this season, it’s because assistant coach Kirk Hamsley stepped up from assistant coach to take the head coaching position.

Some of the familiarity is for a good reason. Hamsley was an assistant in the girls’ high school program under Joe Voelker, and coached the varsity boys at Floyd Central for four years, before Randy Gianfagna became the head coach.
Hamsley said that he enjoyed the coaching he has done so far in the boys’ and girls’ programs, and wanted to continue doing that.
He will face a rebuilding situation this year in the girls’ program, with the last two players that played on the Lady Highlanders’ final four team of 2009-10. Morgan Rookstool and Emily Foster were the final two mainstays left, and they graduated last year from the team. Even so, the varsity finished at 8-14 last season.
The good news for Hamsley, the team, and fans is that the junior varsity team was 14-4 last season.
“We just lack a lot of experience,” said Hamsley. “We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Hamsley estimates that the team lost 70 percent of their offense from last year, and along with that, a lot of the rebounding and defense from last year.
Rookstool averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds per contest last year.
Foster didn’t necessarily show up in the stats last as much as she helped lead the team emotionally during the games, and off the court.
“She’s hard to replace,” said Hamsley of Foster’s contributions.
With a tough early schedule facing them, Hamsley said that the key is simply getting in plenty of hard work.
“The kids have been working hard, and have been doing what we’ve been asking,” said the coach. He added that team unity is going to be important. “The biggest thing is pulling these girls together,” he added.
They face Evansville Harrison, a road trip to Scottsburg, and Seymour to start the year off. “You don’t get a whole lot tougher than that,” admitted Hamsley.
He emphasized that they have good, young kids, but that it will take some time, and that they will need to bring them along at their own pace.
Having coached both boys and girls while coaching basketball at Floyd Central, Hamsley said that the biggest difference between the boys’ and girls’ games is the speed of the game (the boys’ is faster), and the physicalness (the boys’ is generally more physical).
Also, the emotional aspect is different. Hamsley said that girls have to enjoy being with each other, and enjoy the experience as a whole, where boys just play.