Dennis Kloster envisioned himself one day coaching the Northeastern girls' basketball team.
He's done pretty much everything else for the program. He ran the booster club, coached the junior high team, assisted the varsity squad and coached the junior varsity team.
He was prepared to continue to wait for his time, especially after veteran coach Gary Sutton took over the reins of the varsity girls' program this season.
So Kloster hadn't given much recent thought to his end goal. He was happy to help Sutton while running the JV team.
Sometimes, however, the unexpected happens. As a result, Kloster suddenly finds himself where he always wanted to be.
Kloster became the interim head coach last week after Sutton, citing health concerns, resigned just five games into his tenure. Kloster also is the third head coach of the program in the past year. Last year’s coach, Bill Novak, was replaced by Sutton.
"The day after the Eastern game, so Wednesday of last week," Kloster said when asked the date of Sutton’s resignation. “I know we has having some chest pains in the last week or two and he was having trouble sleeping. I don’t know if it was stress, but we have an interesting group of girls and parents that can put some stress on you.”
If Kloster's name sounds familiar, it should. His daughter, Jordyn, is the team's leading scorer at 18.4 points a contest.
Some coaches would relish the opportunity to coach a daughter. Many local coaches, including Red Lion coach Don Dimoff, York Catholic coach Kevin Bankos and Central York coach Scott Wisner, have all had success while coaching their daughters.
Coach Kloster, however, and Jordyn Kloster haven’t always been on the same page in terms of basketball. So there was a bit of concern on his part in taking over the program now, as opposed to sometime down the road after she had already graduated.
“My original plan was to not coach my daughter,” he said. “We’re both pretty competitive, so we don’t always see eye to eye during games. I talked to Jordyn to make sure she was OK with it, and then I had to take a moment to think if I was really OK with coaching her again, and ultimately decided to go forward.”
Kloster knows that he will have his hands full with a team that struggles to score and defend. Offensively, the issue is getting someone other than Jordyn to put the ball in the basket regularly. Teams know that, and have used a variety of unusual defenses to force the the ball away from the Bobcats' go-to scorer.
“We put some new stuff in against the junk defenses,” Coach Kloster said. “I’m somewhat lucky in the sense that I’ve developed some good relationships with other coaches over the years. And I did nothing but look at film over the weekend. I reached out to college coaches that I know, and Coach Dimoff and others, for advice on beating those defenses.”
Beating those gimmick defenses, however, is easier said than done.
“They all said the same thing,” he said. “If your other players aren’t willing to shoot, it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing that I can do, from an Xs and Os perspective. So we’ve been trying to drill that into the rest of the team’s head. But there’s only so much that we can do as coaches, and there’s only so much that Jordyn can do.”
Probably more disappointing to the new coach, whose team dropped to 2-5 overall after Tuesday night's loss to Kennard-Dale, is how his team has played defensively. He cited the recently released team stats published in The York Dispatch that showed his team at the bottom of the league in points allowed per game.
“My first practice as head coach I really harped on defense and our efforts and all of that,” he said. “Then I saw in the newspaper yesterday that we are statistically the worst team in the league. And that’s something that I’m actually kind of happy to see in a sense, because I’m not quite sure that the girls realize just how bad we were defensively. And to see that we’re 22nd out of 22 teams in the league is an eye-opener.”
Around the league: A number of folks noted that York Catholic standout Kate Bauhof was missing from the box score from Tuesday's game against Hanover.
She entered that contest as the York-Adams League’s leading scorer at 20.8 points a game.
Coach Kevin Bankos quickly confirmed, however, that there’s nothing wrong with Bauhof.
“Just precautionary rest,” he said. “Same as we do for all the kids.”
While Irish fans will be glad to find out that there’s nothing wrong with Bauhof, the same cannot be said for York Catholic’s biggest rival — Delone Catholic. The Squirettes are down two top starters because of knee injuries that occurred on the same night.
Jill Novak, who leads Delone at 10.6 points a game, and Allyson Shipley (10.2 ppg) were both injured during a game last week against Hanover. Shipley avoided the most serious concern — a torn ACL. Her injury was graded out as a strain and the team is hoping she can return in a few weeks. Novak, however, did tear her ACL and will have season-ending surgery sometime soon.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.