Keener to take the helm as Lady Bearcat Basketball Head Coach


GRAFTON—The 2022-2023 season of the Grafton High School (GHS) Girls’ basketball program will see a new coach at the helm. Newly announced Head Coach Hartsel Keener has taken control of the program for the upcoming season.

Coach Keener will be flanked by his assistant coach Bobby Beltner, along with Logan Beltner and Rick Jones, as they hope to shape a winning season and start a new legacy of dominate girls’ basketball in Grafton. 

Coming out of the June three week practice period where Coach Keener got to spend just a couple days with the girls after Coach Bord and Coach Jones did an amazing job with the bulk of the camp, coach Keener is optimistic. 

“I was very pleased with the progress that was made during the three-week period. We still have a lot to work to do, but I believe all these girls are up to the challenge,” he voiced.

Keener is a staple in the sports programs in Taylor County. You may have seen him helping with all aspects of the football program from coaching the pee-wee programs to the middle and high school levels. 

He has a storied history coaching the Taylor County Biddy League basketball programs and helping to encourage and engage an entire generation of athletes in many facets of Taylor County sports.

He shared that his philosophy is simple.

“My main focal point is to get better defensively and that will in turn help create our offense. We want to utilize our athleticism to create openings and turnovers that will power our offensive capabilities,” he explained.  

The 2022-2023 season will be fielding a Junior Varsity team and a Varsity team this year, with try outs beginning on November, 8th of this year. 

Coach Keener spoke about his goals for program this year, sharing that he believes it’s a time for rebuilding. 

“The program has been down for the last few years and most teams have looked at Grafton as an easy win. That mentality is going to change by forming a winning culture and attitude,” he expressed.

And the Grafton High School Lady Bearcats will be sporting a team motto this year of “Why not us!” 

“When other teams come to town looking for a victory, they will have to earn every second of it on the floor against our girls. Why can’t we be the ones to control the pace? Why can’t we be the ones dominating on defense? Why can’t we be the ones raising our hands in victory after the game,” Kenner questioned. “Why can’t we be the ones winning the regional tournament and securing a state playoff spot. Why Not Us!?” 

He said it’s really simple, adding “When you find yourself falling into the losing mentality, ask yourself, ‘why not us?’ Have the attitude that shows you believe it. Play with a chip on your shoulder. Do not let anyone make you doubt we can win. Creating a culture of winning starts with us.”

The staff of the Mountain Statesman would like to wish Coach Keener and his staff a successful season, as we look forward to cheering on the Lady Bearcats this year. 

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