Jaime Walborn knows what it takes to get to the postseason. As a player at Lebanon Catholic and more recently as head coach at Annville-Cleona, Walborn has led teams into district and state tournaments. She now finds herself on the hardwood at Lebanon High, looking to lead the Cedar girls team back to the postseason.
The first-year coach has 19 players out for this season, but even though she did not see any of them play last season, she and her staff have been able to coach many of the girls in summer leagues and open gyms.
“I’m impressed by what I see,” Walborn said. “We had good workouts in the summer and we played in a summer league. It was a good time and really the summer was spent getting to know those players and what we have to work on.
“Right now we’re just looking for those seniors that we have to step up and lead because they’ve been here, and they’ve been working really hard. We’re looking for them to lead the underclassmen.”
At point guard, Walborn will have veteran leadership in senior Maddy Hartman, who has played all four years for the Cedars, and shooting guard Katey Roth. She will also have Ary’Anna Ortolaza returning in the paint as the team's main big, along with Lucy Yorty.
Those four seniors have experienced winning. They were part of the 2014 and 2015 section championship teams, participated in districts twice, and made a state playoff appearance in 2014, and they really want to share those experiences with the younger players.
“We have some people on the team who were a part of that and they know what it feels like and I think we can get back to that,” said Walborn, who also noted that one of her goals for this team was to return to the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs by being a contender in the re-aligned Section 2.
Lebanon’s seniors will have to translate the practice leadership into game leadership quickly though, as they open at the Red Lion Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 9 against one of the L-L’s most dominant programs, Manheim Township. The tournament will be a good measuring stick for Walborn to see just how her team stacks up against District 3 playoff caliber teams.
“I think Lebanon’s known for being tough, speedy kids,” Walborn said. “I know what they’re capable of, and I think that qualifying for the league playoffs is a good start.”
Of course, a strong showing opening night may just help to further redefine those goals for a first year head coach and her seniors, all of whom know what it feels like to get to the playoffs and the great feeling that comes along with winning titles.
Coach: Jaime Walborn, 1st season
Last year: 5-17 (4-12)
Season opener: Dec. 9 at Red Lion Tip-Off Tournament, vs. Manheim Township