Zeeland West’s girls basketball team has a new coach, but there is really nothing new about him in terms of familiarity with the program.
Ryan Lane, who has coached in the system for the past four years, has been promoted to the head varsity position.
Lane coached Zeeland West’s junior varsity the past two seasons, and he was the freshmen coach the two years before that. He also is a teacher at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland. This will be Lane’s first varsity head-coaching opportunity.
“I teach at the middle school, Creekside Middle School, which feeds into West, so I’ve known these girls since the seventh or eighth grade,” Lane said. “It is cool to watch them grow up and coach them up, and now that I’m the varsity coach, I’m looking forward to coaching them again.
“I have been with these kids for three years, from the freshmen, JV and now to varsity. They are just a great group of kids.”
Lane is a graduate of Lowell High School, playing varsity basketball for the Red Arrows from 2003-2006. He said the coaches he had in middle and high school inspired him to pursue a career in education and coaching.
He will take over a program that finished 2-14 a year ago, including 2-11 in the OK Green Conference. Lane has replaced Brooke Nienhuis at the helm.
“We want to go out and compete every day,” Lane said. “We have a new system coming in offensively and defensively, and we want to get our lower levels acclimated to the new things we are going to be implementing.
“We didn’t have the best year last year, but these girls are ready to get going and prove some of the doubters wrong and show that we are a team that is going to compete day in and day out and not make anything easy for anybody. We have a pretty good JV team that is coming up to join some of the solid seniors that we have.”
One player to watch next year is Kara Bartels, a 6-foot-3 rising junior. Bartels’ season highlights include a 20-point, 19-rebound performance in a 45-40 win against Holland.
“Kara Bartels is a very good player for us who has put in a lot of work,” Lane said. “We really like the way our team looks right now. Once we get everything into place, we will be really excited to see what we can do with this team.”