New coach, influx of freshmen shake up Wolfpack | Girls basketball

By David Robert Pan | Dec 07, 2018

In some ways, the Jackson girls basketball team resembles a puzzle.

The Timberwolves return one of the more experienced rosters in the Wesco 4A with five seniors – Olivia Skibiel, Alexa Martin, Megan Mattison, Lauren Schillberg and Jaelen Williams – most of whom have been major contributors to the Wolfpack since their freshman seasons.

Jackson also added four freshmen to the roster to go with three juniors.

To top it off, this year marks the debut of new head coach Corey Gibb, who previously led league rival Mariner for 11 years.

Jackson is running a different offense that is taking some time for the players to become comfortable with, Gibb said.

“We have more options as far as this team goes and we’re trying to harness all the pieces,” the Jackson coach said. “It’s like a puzzle. You have 12 individual pieces. We’re trying to fit everybody as to what their roles are. … There’s a tremendous amount of talent.”

Skibiel earned first-team, all-league honors, while Mattison was named to the second team last season.

Gibb admits that he wishes he had more than one season with the talented senior class.

“They do have the varsity experience. One of the things we’re trying to build on is that this is their last season and it’s my first,” Gibb said. “There are different expectations and a different style. … We’ve got to close the gap quick. We’re working pretty hard, watching video and seeing where we need to improve. I know the girls are super excited. I’m super excited to be here. The girls are very upbeat and open to my ideas. The future is bright at Jackson.”

The Timberwolves dropped their season opener 61-57 to Shorecrest. Freshman Mackendra Konig led the Wolfpack with 22 points. Three other Timberwolves scored in double figures – Mattison (13 points), Skibiel (11) and Martin (10).

“The girls played really hard. They were intense,” Gibb said. “They worked hard on both ends of the floor. There’s a learning curve with a new coach. We’re still getting to know each other.”

Gibb describes the new offense as emphasizing movement and different options.

“The big idea is the team part – having more belief and trust in your teammates,” Gibb said. “With four freshmen, that’s a big age gap. … We’re trying to put five solid seniors with four young ones.

“Even though the freshmen have played a ton of basketball, it hasn’t been with this group of girls. It’s trying to get everybody to mesh.”

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