CHURUBUSCO – With five seniors returning, first-year head coach Nate Zastrow hopes to improve on the Churubusco girls basketball team’s 5-18 record from last year.

A graduate of North Dakota State, Zastrow was the assistant coach for the Indiana Tech’s men’s basketball team the last three seasons.

The coach’s first impression of the Churubusco girls team thus far is that the players have good communication and are focused on fundamentals.

“We have five seniors who are good leaders,” he said. “We’ve had younger kids step up too, working hard. The girls value the small things like catching, passing and dribbling. The hold themselves accountable, there is a communication there that makes the team better.”

Zastrow is hopeful that he can impact the Churubusco girls basketball program and begin to turn things around.

“Brein Gross and Callie Lemper will be our senior leaders,” the coach said. “Katelyn Johnson and Delaney Peters are also back this year. Hopefully we can get some stride from Myah Bear. We’ll be starting a freshman, Mariah Hosted. She’s very athletic and I don’t think anyone in our conference will play harder than her. She has a bundle of energy that we need to utilize.

“We’ll also be starting a sophomore, Makenzi Tonkel, he said. “I really like the work she put in this fall. She’ll always take the open jumper and three-pointers. She has an aggressive edge in her playing style. Isabelle Hille is a senior who will also make an impact on our team.

“I think (our players are) having fun and getting excited about another season. I know we haven’t had a lot success in recent memory,” he said. “The players want to see that change, but it’s going to take a lot of work. I’ve preached that to them, and they’re doing a good job of doing that so far.”