OSWEGO — A new head coach will be at the helm of the Oswego varsity girls basketball team this season.

Joe Babcock, the Oswego JV girls basketball coach last season, has taken over head coaching duties for the Lady Buccaneers’ varsity program. He replaces Chris O’Brien.

Ryan Lavner is the new JV girls basketball head coach.

When the varsity position reopened, Babcock went in for an interview. It was a late process, but he was picked as the head coach a few months before the start of the season.

Babcock received a positive reaction from his players once word got out about him getting the position. He had an opportunity to coach some of them at the JV level.

“The kids seemed excited about me becoming the new head coach. I’m looking forward to working with them throughout the season,” Babcock said.

Babcock graduated from Oswego High School in 1986. He played basketball all four years with the Bucs. Following OHS, Babcock went on to play basketball at Cayuga Community College for two years and then finished at The College at Brockport. He graduated from Brockport in 1991.

Prior to his coaching experience at OHS, Babcock started the Oswego girls basketball travel organization and did some coaching for the teams. He also coached in the St. Paul’s Leprechaun League.

Going into his first season calling the shots for the varsity team, Babcock figured it might take some time to get his players acclimated with his coaching style.

So far, he has been impressed with how his players have able to pick up on what he’s been teaching them.

“As a new head coach, there’s a lot of new instruction and things for these kids to learn,” he said. “But, they’ve been working really hard. I’m really pleased right now.”

Babcock said his players are working well with one another and the team chemistry is starting to build.

“I thought that was going to be the hardest thing, but after the first week, I think once they understood what I was talking about it really seems to be coming together,” he said.

Babcock and his coaching staff are attempting to bring in a mentality of “always shooting for the stars,” which means working to the best of your potential on the basketball court.

“Myself and my coaching staff are trying to build a culture of high standards, working hard and always bringing the effort,” he said. “That’s all you can ask from these girls.”

Getting ready for the regular season has been drastically different as compared to last season. The Lady Bucs had almost a month of preparation before the beginning of last season. This season, they only have a little over a week.

“We’re working hard on fundamentals and trying to get a good base to work off, even though we have very little time to prepare,” Babcock said.

Oswego kicks off its 2019-20 regular season on Monday against Section III Class AA opponent Baldwinsville. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a tough game. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Babcock said. “The girls are skilled and working hard so I’m hoping it’ll pay off.”

Babcock realizes it might be a process to get coaching down to a tee at the varsity level, but he plans to absorb as much knowledge as possible each day and game of the season.

“As a coach, I try to learn every day. The coaching staff comes in prepared,” he said. “I’m going to try to outwork the other coach (every game) and see if it works.”

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