A well-known high school coach has taken over the reigns of the Lambton College women's basketball program.
David Elsley replaces Jillian Shelley, who was hired last June but resigned to spend more time in pursuit of her teaching career.
Elsley has coached at St. Patrick’s and St. Christopher for the past two decades and was an assistant coach with the Lions men's program the past two seasons.
Rather than bring in a whole new coaching staff midway through season, administration felt it important to maintain continuity and keep both programs moving in a positive direction, Elsley said.
“It just made sense to go this way. We felt it was important to use people who were familiar with the women's team and its roster.”
His future with the women's program will be re-evaluated at the end of the season.
The Petrolia native said the women's program must win at least five of its nine remaining games to reach the post season. Lambton is tied for fifth with Niagara and Redeemer in the OCAA West Division with records of 4-5. The Lady Lions play both those clubs at home in the second half.
“I believe this is a playoff team,” Elsley said, noting the key to success will be to dig in defensively.
“You have to take care of your own end (of the floor) first. We need to get more stops that we did in the first half of the season.”
Lambton is bolstered for the stretch run by the return of Christine Fleischer to the lineup. The Northern Collegiate grad was among the top rebounder in the league last season but was away for the first semester.
“She will definitely help us,” said Elsley.
Lambton was set to play Fanshawe (7-2) in the Lions’ Den on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. to open the second half of the season.
“Everybody's healthy and we're ready to go,” he said.