CONCEPTION JUNCTION, Mo. — The West Nodaway girls' basketball team will have a new head coach this season with Denny Fast taking over the program this season. Fast got a look at his new team on Friday in a shootout event at Jefferson where Albany, Platte Valley, North Nodaway and DeKalb participated.
“You have to play to get better and you have to play better people to get better,” Fast said. “If you are doing nothing in the offseason, it isn't going to work. Watching them today and at some other things we've done, we see fundamentals we need to work on and areas we need to work on.”
Over the past few seasons, the Rockets have struggled to find a coach to lead the program for the long term. After a pair of winless seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15 under Toshia Jones, Bryson Scott took over the team for a season and led the team a 1-24 record.
Taylor Dameron replaced Scott the next season and increased the win total to three in his first season and seven in his second year. Seven wins was as many wins as the program had enjoyed since an 11-11 campaign in 2009-10. Dameron — student at Northwest Missouri State at that time — graduated after the 2017-18 season and the job opened up again.
Dameron's assistant Skyler Zimmerman was elevated to head coach this past year and finished the season with a 3-20 record after having to replace 2017 leading scorer and point guard Alissa Nelson. Like Dameron, Zimmerman was a Northwest student and graduated in May — leaving an opening for a new head coach once again.
Fast offers a different type of coach for the Rockets as a Burlington Junction resident, who hopes to keep the job for the the next several years and offer the program some continuity.
“I have know some of these girls for a while,” Fast said. “I started off with third- and fourth-grade basketball. My daughter is coming through — she is a couple years down the line. I just want to start building the program back up. I have pride in that school. I graduated from there and I am just doing what I can.”
Fast was the junior high girls coach last year and will continue that responsibility along with the varsity this year.
“We are really working as a complete program now,” Fast said.
With starting guards Erin Cook and Piper Hunt slated to return along with senior post player Lexi Moore, Fast is focused on developing the team's fundamentals.
“Just fundamental basketball,” Fast said. “We have to have our heads up, be ready for game day, be in shape and quit worrying about just one side of the court. There is a whole court out there and we have to be ready to use our left and right hands. We have to be able to rebound. It is just fundamental ball and we are going to bring them along.”
The Rockets will open next season with the Platte Valley Invitational the first week of December before Fast will get to make his home debut on December 13 against Albany.