DELPHOS – High Standards and discipline.
Delphos Jefferson head girls basketball coach Denise Lindeman since taking over the program last year has been preaching this to her team and it appears the squad has responded.
The Wildcats have opened the season 7-1 with wins over New Bremen and St. Henry as well as two Northwest Conference wins over Bluffton and Allen East.
“A lot of our success this year is I truly believe that I have 18 unselfish girls that have definitely bought into our philosophy and my philosophy is pretty much setting high standards and we maintain very strong discipline and every day we get better.
Lindeman also points to the team’s chemistry and she said this squad has gelled nicely due to the team first concept.
“They don’t play for themselves, they play for each other,” Lindeman said.”They make that extra pass which is awesome to see as a coach.”
Lindeman added that this team does not have a go-to player, instead there are four or five girls who can be the top scorer on a given night.
Another factor in the team’s success is the coaching staff, Lindeman said and that includes her husband, Bub Lindeman, as a volunteer assistant along with Jamie Lewis who oversees the junior varsity team.
She also said the parents’ support has been tremendous.
Lindeman took over the Jefferson program early last season and she quickly began to instill her philosophy about setting high standards and being disciplined. Interestingly enough, Lindeman, who has been involved in the Jefferson girls program as the junior high coach and junior varsity coach over a span of 20 years did not seek the head coach position.
“I always wanted to be part of the program but my ultimate goal was not to be head coach,” Lindeman said. “But I felt it was meant to be.”
Being a part of the program and having coached most of the players on the squad definitely helped her make the move to the top spot.
“I have had some of these girls since fourth grade,” Lindeman said. “I been with them pretty much their whole entire basketball career so I guess that was the easy part taking over because they knew my philosophy and they know everything about me and I knew quite a bit about them so it was an easy transition just because I have been with them since junior high.”
Despite back-to-back losing seasons, Lindeman said the team came into the summer with a positive approach and described it as phenomenal.
“We kind of went back to fundamentals and basic footwork with our shooting and it is kind of nice to see that success now with our outside shooters where in the past if you watched that we struggled with that a little bit,” Lindeman said.
Lindeman added that this team is dedicated to winning and the girls are in the gym six and seven days a week.
“There is not a Sunday that goes by where the kids go ‘can you open the gym for me’ and it is just like they can’t get enough of it and that is a coach’s dream,” Lindeman said. ‘They are putting the effort and have the right attitude. They are believing in themselves. “I am firm believer you have to put in the hard work. You can’t cheat winning. You have to put the time in.”
One area the team did focus on was working on team defense, in particular shell defense and transition defense.
Lindeman said one of her biggest goals in the summer was getting the girls to buy into what she was coaching and she think it all started with the discipline.
A loss in the season opener to crosstown rivals might have easily derailed this team and the team’s approach, but Lindeman added that they learned from that defeat and have since reeled off six straight wins. The Wildcat head coach adds that the team never loses because they are going to learn from it.
Delphos Jefferson has not lost since that falling to St. John’s and it reached a major milestone when Jefferson defeated New Bremen, 48-39 Saturday for their sixth straight win.
“We learned a lot with our loss to St. John’s as coaches,” Lindeman said. “We got better every single day from that game. I think the girls learned a lot and they just keep improving but it really told us a lot where we stood when we beat New Bremen. New Bremen is a great program.”
After going 2-6 last season in the conference, Lindeman said she feels the team is under most people’s radar and she doesn’t mind that at all.
Even though they have two NWC wins under their belt, Jefferson must still face top conference contenders like Crestview, Columbus Grove, Paulding, Lincolnview and Spencerville.
Lindeman is not looking ahead and is sticking to her mantra of ‘getting better every day” and not looking past any opponent.
“No onee has really said anything about us and I am okay with that,” Lindeman said. “We really try to look at ourselves and try to get better everyday, maintain high standards and strong discipline and they here those daily from me.”