Most people wouldn’t look back at a 90+ degree day in a small stuffy gym in a positive light. However first year Wildcats head coach Jim Gotshall points to those July days as the moment he knew his girls were committed. “When you have 21 girls show up for a general workout in the middle of the summer when its 90 degrees out and no air conditioning and they’re in there busting it for a couple hours,” Jim assures himself, “I knew we were gonna be alright.”
Five months later and it would take quite a bit more than the couple fans in the corners of the gym to cool off these Wildcats. A 5-1 start has Jim and his bunch flying high and playing with a lot of confidence. Gotshall, who is in his 13th year as a teacher in Canton South, was approached about the job in July. They had three weeks of work before the mandatory no contact period.
The team got started fast and started at ground level, working on defense and fundamentals every single time they stepped in the gym. They incorporated simple offense and just kept building. “We had a great turn out,” Jim recalls their summer, “the kids worked hard and seemed happy.”
Coach Gotshall brings plenty of experience with him, having spent most of the 90’s as head of the North Canton guys program, and the last three in a successful Louisville girls program. Although Jim has reached the college level in his career as the Walsh mens JV coach he takes great pride in coaching at all levels all the way down to kindergarten. His patience allows him to reach his kids and create a great line of communication. “We all like him,” says senior Katie Uminski, “I’d tell you if we didn’t, we all love him.”
Katie, a three-year starter, explains that Coach Gotshall does a great job being stern and compassionate. “Coach Gotshall pushes us in all the right ways, he tells us as soon as we do something wrong, he makes us correct it right there.”, Uminski says about the difference in coaching over years past, “He’s not afraid to tell us what we’re doing wrong, what we’re doing good, and congratulates us when we need congratulated.”
An important point of focus for this Canton South team is to turn some of the close loses last year into wins this year. So far that goal is being met. The Wildcats came from behind to beat a very solid Minerva team they lost to twice last year. They continued the redemption when they easily beat a Northwest team that they haven’t beat in four years. Uminski scored a game high 19 in both games. The difference is clear to anyone who has seen this team play in recent years.
There are now fundamentals when the Wildcats take the floor, they now box out and take care of the basketball. Rarely has there been a purpose on the offensive end. In a rather short time the Wildcats now present a threat offensively, improving on their shooting, shot selection and dribble penetration. Throw in an increased defensive intensity, solid leadership and a positive attitude and Canton South is all the sudden a threat. Thanks to plans of a new school and gym the Wildcats won’t have to spend many more sweltering summer days in the gym, but certainly will be putting the heat on future opponents.
“We definitely want to go out with a bang, its our senior year. We keep pushing each other and the underclassmen, even after we leave we want them to be good. We’re saying this is our year, we have an opportunity to do big things. We like the way Coach Gotshall coaches and we like the way we’ve been playing.”
Senior, Katie Uminski
Categories: Northeast Ohio Girls Basketball