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A Special Publication of the Messenger-Inquirer • Friday, November 22, 2019

2019-20

BASKETBALL PREVIEW AREA SCHOOLS SCHEDULES

& PRESEASON ANALYSIS

Deep Roots

Owensboro High School’s basketball program has been a lifelong passion for former standout player and current head coach Rod Drake. See story, Page 2 Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer


2 Basketball

Keeper of the Flame Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Drake embraces challenges as leader of Red Devils

assistant post to the helm following the departure of Wayne Breeden, who led OHS to 3rd Region championships in each of his two seasons. The first few years to follow, however, weren’t as kind to Drake or the Red Devils. In Drake’s first season, Owensboro won 20 games and a 9th District TournaBY JIM PICKENS MESSENGER-INQUIRER ment title, but dropped a one-point decision to Muhlenberg North in the semifiod Drake laughed when asked nals of the 3rd Region Tournament. about his job description as head OHS then went 13-12 in 2009-10 (firstcoach of the Owensboro High round loss in district), 15-14 in 2010-11 School boys’ basketball program. (district runner-up, lost in regional semi“It’s not for everybody,” said Drake, finals), 8-20 in 2011-12 (first-round loss with a chuckle. “This is just a different in district) and 19-11 in 2012-13 (district place. You’re expected to win, and you’re champs, lost in regional semifinals). expected to win every year. For the Red Devil faithful, the desire to “So, yes, there’s pressure because the go the distance was mounting. expectations are very high, but the truth “The magnitude of the pressure here, is that’s the way I like it because people yeah, you definitely feel it, but I promise care so much. It means that much more you no one wants this program to succeed when you do succeed at the highest level.” more than I do,” Drake said. “So, you And Drake, 57, knows all about that. learn to take constructive criticism. If you Along with fellow senior star Dwight can’t, this job isn’t for you. Higgs, Drake was a driving force in lead“You can walk in the grocery store ing the Red Devils to the 1980 KHSAA and someone is smiling and patting you State Championship, which, as it turned on the back. You can pay for your things out, capped the Hall of Fame coaching and walk out of the store and somebody career of Bobby Watson, who also led looks at you a little funny and asks when OHS to the state title in 1972. you’re going back to state — it goes with “We were undersized, but that group the job.” never lost a basketball or football game In 2013-14, Owensboro (21-11) won disin middle school,” said Drake, who along trict and regional titles, returning to state, with Higgs would help rekindle the chambut Drake’s junior-laden team lost 55-41 to pionship culture at Kentucky Wesleyan in Louisville Trinity in the first round. the early ‘80s. “We already knew how to “We all learned from that, just as our win — twelve like-minded people.” team in 1979 did after getting beat in the Flash forward 35 years to 2015, when first round at state (54-51 to Ashland BlazDrake — at this point head coach at er),” Drake recalled. “You can either feel Owensboro — directed the Devils to sorry for yourself or an experience like another state championship; this one that can motivate you to come back stronkeyed by a pair of frontcourt stars, Aric ger and better — that’s what happened in Holman and Justin Miller, the Sweet 16 both 1980 and 2015.” Most Valuable Player, and guard Jacoby Drake, who led the Red Devils back to Harris. the Sweet 16 last season, has been associ“That one was really special, in part ated with OHS in some form or fashion for because I lost my mother (Betty) the previous year,” Drake recalled. “That made it Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com as long as he can remember. “I’m very fortunate in terms of role especially memorable and emotional for Owensboro head basketball coach Rod Drake yells out a play during the fourth quarme. ter against Ashland Blazer during the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ models,” Drake said. “I grew up around the Crumps, the Thrustons, the Taylors, “Beyond that, it was almost a surreal Sweet Sixteen on March 6 at Rupp Arena in Lexington. the Greenfields, and I also learned a great experience. I felt like I was concussed, a whirlwind. cess, and that’s why we were able to do deal from every coach I played for. that everything was moving in slow “We were in Lexington from Tuesday what we did.” motion. I remember asking my wife, Michelle, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was through Sunday, but we trusted the proIn 2008-09, Drake ascended from his SEE FLAME/PAGE 18

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Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Apollo Boys

Basketball

3

Eagles hope experience helps them soar Apollo looking for bounce-back season BY JIM PICKENS

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he Apollo Eagles endured one of their worst-ever seasons in 2018-19, but coach Steve Barker believes a more battle-tested contingent of Eagles will fly higher this time around. “We’ve got everybody back, so we have a ton of experience on this year’s team,” said Barker, whose squad labored through a 3-25 campaign last season. “In this game, at this level, you have to have experience, so we’re hoping what we went through will pay off for us this season. “We’re working hard, and it’s going to take us a while to put things together because we have football players who will be coming along — but that’s giving the rest of our guys a chance to show what they’ve got.” Among the top returnees for Apollo is 6-foot-3 senior forward Ryan Ash, who averaged 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50% from the floor. “He’s all out, all the time, and he does everything you ask of him,” Barker said of Ash. “He got to play in the state tournament (2018), so he’s got some good experience behind him. I’m expecting a great season out of Ryan.” Also back is senior guard Malik Wilson, who averaged 11.2 points in 13 games. “He’s a swing guard who can defend, and he’s very athletic,” Barker said of Wilson. “He’s very effective driving to the basket from the wing, and he just has a knack for being able to score the ball.” The Eagles are also expecting big things from 6-1 junior guard Cameron Frantz (7.1 ppg), 6-foot junior guard Harrison Bowman (8.9 ppg) and 6-5, 235-pound junior power forward Dan St. Claire (6.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg). “Cameron is a lefty two-guard who can really shoot the basketball, and he’s coming off an excellent summer,” Barker said. “Bowman is an all-around athlete

Ryan Ash

Cameron Frantz

Jamen Kinison

2019-20 SCHEDULE

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer | geans@messenger-inquirer.com

Apollo’s Dan St. Clair shoots during practice Nov. 8 at the high school. who was a part-time starter last season — very solid. “Dan is a big body who has gotten bigger and stronger. Obviously, we’ll be counting on his size and strength on the interior, and I look for him to have a very good season for us.” Jamen Kinison, a 6-foot point guard transfer from Frankfort, is also considered a key piece to the Apollo puzzle. Now, it’s a matter of Barker and Co. putting it all together and re-establishing the Eagles as a championship contender.

“If we have some early success and build our confidence a little bit, I think it would be huge,” Barker said. “In that situation, I believe we would be capable of building some early momentum and just rolling with it. “We’re guard-heavy, so we’ll probably try to play uptempo, although I think we also have a chance to be a sold half-court team if we can get the ball to Dan on the inside.” Apollo also must turn up the intensity at the defensive end.

12/3 at Grayson County 7:30 12/7 at Whitesville Trinity 7:30 12/10 at Henderson County 7:30 12/13 at Owensboro Catholic 7:30 12/14 vs. TBA (at Sportscenter) 4 12/16 Butler County 7:30 12/17 at Logan County 7:30 12/21 at South Warren 5 12/27 at South Spencer 11:45 12/28 TBA (at South Spencer) 7:15 12/30 Dawson Springs 7:15 1/3 at Owensboro 7:30 1/7 Meade County 7:30 1/10 Daviess County 7 1/11 at Dawson Springs 5:15 1/14 Webster County 7:30 1/17 Owensboro Catholic 7:30 1/18 Evansville Central 7:30 1/21 Breckinridge County 7 1/31 Muhlenberg County 7:30 2/4 at Ohio County 7 2/7 Owensboro 7 2/8 Union County 6 2/10 Hancock County 6 2/11 Henderson County 6 2/14 at Daviess County 7 2/18 at Madisonville-North Hopkins 6 2/21 at McLean County 7:30

“We have to be better defensively in the half-court,” Barker said. “Dribble penetration (by opponents) was a problem for us all last year, and we’ve got to be much better in this area if we expect to have an improved season. “I do believe we have a chance to be a good rebounding team. We have aggressive players who are willing to go after the basketball on the glass.”


4 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Apollo Girls

E-Gals eying long-awaited return to state Depth expected to be a strength for Apollo BY JIM PICKENS

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

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he Apollo E-Gals took a major step in the right direction last season, finishing runner-up to Owensboro Catholic in both the 9th District and 3rd Region tournaments. This time, the E-Gals have designs on going the distance and reaching the KHSAA Sweet 16 for the first time in more than two decades. “We feel good about about our team,” Apollo co-head coach Natalie Payne said. “One thing that sticks out about our team is the depth we have. Neither I nor Willis (McClure, also a co-head coach) remember a time when this program was actually nine deep, but that’s the situation for us this season. “We like to play fast, so our depth is going to allow us to keep fresh players on the court at all times, and we shouldn’t drop off too much.” The top returning scorer is 5-foot-6 junior guard Kassidy Daugherty, who averaged 10.3 points per game for last year’s team that went 20-13. Also back are 5-10 junior guard Amber Dunn (8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg), 5-9 junior forward Zoe Floyd (7.3 ppg, team-best 6.9 rpg), 5-10 junior forward Addison Carter (4.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg), 5-6 junior guard Brylee Rhodes (2.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and 5-9 junior center Amari Sanders (3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg). “This junior class is special,” Powers said. “Other than Kassidy Daugherty (who transferred from McLean County), this group has been playing together for a long time, and they’ve enjoyed success at every level.” One player who could help take Apollo to the next level this season is Owensboro transfer Amaya Curry, a 5-4 sophomore point guard who averaged a team-high 14.5 points per game for the Lady Devils as a freshman in 2018-19. “She’s the truest point guard we have on the team, and she has great court vision — she knows when to pull up and shoot, when to drive and when to dish it off,” Payne said. “She’s still young, but

Kassidy Daugherty

Amaya Curry

Zoe Floyd

2019-20 SCHEDULE

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com

Apollo’s Amber Dunn shoots under the basket during drills at practice at Apollo High School’s auxiliary gym. she’s kind of like a coach on the floor for us.” Other sophomores who could figure into the mix are 5-7 guard Shelbie Beatty, who led the team with a 39% 3-point percentage last season, and 5-10 center Janaya Douglas. Rebounding is also expected to be a strength of the team. “We have three quality players who can play the post in Floyd, Sanders and Douglas,” Payne said, “so I believe our rebounding will be improved and

something we’ll do well throughout the season.” Defense, as always, will set the tone for the E-Gals. “I think this year we have the personnel on defense to take our opponents out of their comfort zone,” Payne said. “Full court or half court, we should be able to go full speed all the time, really get after it and cause other teams problems.” All things considered, Apollo is ready to roll. “I think the girls realize the possibili-

12/2 at Henderson County 7:30 12/7 Hancock County 3:30 12/10 Union County 7:30 12/13 at Owensboro Catholic 5:30 12/14 vs. Murray (at Muhlenberg County) 4:30 12/17 at South Warren 7:30 12/20 Northeast, Tenn. (at Russellville) 7:30 12/21 vs. TBD (at Russellville) TBD 12/28 Ohio County 3:30 1/3at Owensboro 5:30 1/4 Meade County 4:30 1/7 Breckinridge County 7:30 1/10 Daviess County 5:30 1/17 Owensboro Catholic 5:30 1/20 Grayson County 7 1/25 Evansville Bosse 4:30 1/27 at Webster County 7:30 1/30 at Ohio County 7:30 2/1 Christian County 3:30 2/4 Whitesville Trinity 6 2/7 Owensboro 5:30 2/10 Muhlenberg County 6 2/14 at Daviess County 5:30 2/15 at Graves County 4:30 2/17 at Greenwood 7:30 2/20 Madisonville North Hopkins 7

ties we have out here,” Payne said. “We need to be an unselfish team willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. The way we’re set up, we could have a different leading scorer every night, and our team needs to embrace that. “We also need to communicate well on the court — our ability to do this will be a really important aspect in terms of how successful we can be.”


Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Basketball

5

Daviess County Boys

Panthers taking a committee approach Daviess focusing on sound fundamentals

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BY JIM PICKENS

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

he Daviess County Panthers experienced an up-and-down, 10-15 season in 2018-19 and failed to get out of the 9th District Tournament, dropping a 57-55 first-round heartbreaker to Owenbsoro Catholic. Now, without graduated scoring star Dakota Walden (25.7 ppg), the Panthers will feature a far more balanced attack — and younger players will need to contribute to the scoring load. “Without Dakota, we will be more by committee as far as scoring points goes,” Daviess County coach Neil Hayden said. “We’ll definitely be more balanced, and I feel like the chemistry is good for this team. I think everyone understands that they’re going to have to step up for us. “For us to be competitive, we’ll have to battle defensively, rebound, make shots and limit turnovers. We’ve got to find a way to get second shots, which will produce more scoring opportunities.” The team’s top returning scorer is Logan Hillard, a 6-foot-2 senior guard who averaged 5.1 points per game last season. “Logan is our most experienced returning player and one of the best passers I’ve had here,” Hayden said. “He’s a rangy player and probably our best 3-point shooter. We’ll be counting on him to be more of a scorer for us this season.” Hayden is also high on 6-foot senior guard Ryan Thomson, a part-time starter as a junior. “His basketball IQ is very high, and he just knows how to play the game,” Hayden said. “We’ll need Ryan to handle the ball and make some shots for us. He’s a quality defensive player who really gets after it at that end of the floor.” The Panthers have quality size in the form of 6-6 junior forward Cameron Johnson and 6-6 junior center Bo Stratton. “Cameron is probably the best athlete we’ve had here since Stewart Currie,” Hayden said. “He’s more of a perimeter shooter and shot-blocker.

Logan Hillard

Cameron Johnson

Bo Stratton

2019-20 SCHEDULE

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com

Daviess County’s Ryan Thomson begins to run a drill during practice on Monday at the Daviess County High School gym. “Bo is a traditional five — a low-post center who will be a very important part of our team as a rebounder and inside scorer.” Also back are 5-9 senior guard Hunter Gibson and 5-9 junior guard Will Barron. “They’re both battlers,” Hayden said of of the pair. “They’ll both contribute.” A notable newcomer for the Panthers will be Ian Bivens, a 6-4 junior transfer guard out of West Virginia. “I think he’ll get some minutes,” Hayden said of Bivens.

Another key component for DCHS will be 6-2 sophomore forward Joe Humphreys, the school’s starting quarterback in football. “Joe’s a swing player in basketball who could create some mismatches,” Hayden said. “It will take some time for him to adjust to being on the basketball court, but he’s a talented athlete who will be able to help us, for sure.” Hayden expects it to take some time before he knows precisely what he’s got at DCHS this season.

12/3 Whitesville Trinity 7:30 12/6 at Warren East 7:30 12/7 at Trigg County 7:30 12/10 at Butler County 7:30 12/13 Owensboro 7 12/14 Tell City (Ind.) 5 12/17 at Hancock County 7 12/19 at Webster County 7:30 12/20 vs. Nelson County (at Webster County) 6 12/21 vs. Hopkinsville (at Webster County) 2 12/27 at Logan County 7 1/7 Logan County 7:30 1/10 at Apollo 7 1/11 at Russell County 7 1/14 at Breckinridge County 7 1/17 at Ohio County 7 1/21 Meade County 7 1/24 Owensboro 7 1/28 Henderson County 7:30 1/31 at Owensboro Catholic 7 2/4 Muhlenberg County 7:30 2/7 Owensboro Catholic 7 2/8 vs. North Bullitt (at Sportscenter) 6:30 2/11 McLean County 7:30 2/14 Apollo 7 2/17 Grayson County 7:30 2/20 Union County 7:30

“We have so little (varsity) experience, we’ll be using the December portion of our schedule to sort of tell us who we are,” Hayden said, “By Christmas break, hopefully we’ll be at the point where we understand our identity, and we can move on from there. “It’s a long season, and the most important thing is to be playing your best basketball at the end of it — that’s what we’re wanting to do.”


6 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Daviess County Girls

Lady Panthers looking to push pace Daviess expecting consistent growth BY JIM PICKENS

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he Daviess County Lady Panthers is hoping to parlay lessons learned from last year’s 7-22 season into more success on the hardwood this winter. Second-year Lady Panthers coach John Kirkpatrick is optimistic about making it happen. “We’ve got a lot of young players who are open-minded and willing to learn,” Kirkpatrick said. “They’re on board with what we’re trying to teach them, and they’re making progress in every area of the game. “We’re going to play a lot faster than we did last year, and where we lack size and strength we will be trying to make up for it with speed and quickness — I believe this team is suited to a more uptempo style of play.” Among the top returnees are 5-foot-4 sophomore guard Katie Mewes, who averaged 5.8 points per game last season, and 5-10 junior forward Brooklyn Daugherty (4.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg). “Katie will be our point guard, and she is one of the best decision-makers we’ve got,” Kirkpatrick said. “She’s a threat to score, and her defense has improved tremendously. “Brooklyn is a player we can utilize inside and out, and her size and athleticism will allow her to defend all over the court. Her shooting has improved, and we will be seeking more scoring from her.” Also back for the Lady Panthers is 5-4 sophomore guard Ella Payne and 5-5 freshman guard Adylan Ayer — each of whom had some good moments last season. “Ella really turned it on at the end of the season,” Kirkpatrick said. “She has a competitive mindset, and she provides a lot of spark at both ends of the floor. “Adylan is a very athletic kid who

Katie Mewes

Ella Payne

Adylan Ayer

2019-20 SCHEDULE 12/5 Breckinridge County 7 12/10 Butler County 7:30 12/13 at Owensboro 5:30 12/16 at South Spencer (Ind.) 7 12/19 vs. Hancock County (at Ohio County) 5:30 12/20 vs. Hopkins County Central (at Ohio County) 5:30 12/21 at Ohio County 2:30 12/26 at Russell County 4:30 p.m. 12/27-28 vs. TBD at Russell County TBD 1/3 Meade County 7 1/6 at Ohio County 7 1/10 at Apollo 5:30 1/11 University Heights 2:30 1/13 at Butler County 7:30 1/16 Frederick Fraize 6 1/17 at McLean County 7 1/20 at Muhlenberg County 7:30 1/24 Owensboro 5:30 1/27 Grayson County 7 1/31 at Owensboro Catholic 5:30 2/1 at Edmonson County 4:30 2/3 at Louisville Shawnee 7:30 2/4 at Hancock County 7 2/7 Owensboro Catholic 5:30 2/10 at Warren Central 7:30 2/11 at Whitesville Trinity 6 2/14 Apollo 5:30 2/18 Union County 7:30 2/21 at Trigg County 6

has a lot of versatility. This season, she will have a lot of responsibility on offense and defense — she’s another player who can score the basketball.” Among others hoping to make a splash for Daviess County are 5-3 SEE DAVIESS/PAGE 19

Photo by Alan Warren, Messenger-Inquirer | awarren@messenger-inquirer.com

Daviess County’s Brooklyn Daugherty shoots during practice on Nov. 11 at Daviess County High School’s auxiliary gym.


Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Owensboro Boys

Basketball

7

Red Devils eye repeat as region champs Owensboro focusing on improving defense BY JIM PICKENS

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our years after capturing their most recent KHSAA boys’ basketball state championship, the Owensboro Red Devils made it back to the Sweet 16 last season — winning 9th District and 3rd Region championships along the way. Now, OHS is after more. Despite the graduation of high-scoring guard Darrion Wimsatt (19 ppg), the Red Devils appear to have enough skill, experience and savvy to make more championship runs in 2019-20. “We have a lot of football players still out, but the players we have have worked very hard in the preseason to either establish themselves at the varsity level or improve their games,” Owensboro coach Rod Drake said. “The preseason is when you can find some sleepers, and I like our personnel. “We made a good run last season; that group stepped up and got the job done when it mattered. I know this team is also wanting to make a strong run in the postseason.” The team’s top returning scorer is 6-foot-3 sophomore Gavin Wimsatt, also a star quarterback in football. Last season, Wimsatt averaged 10 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game. The Devils’ only other returning double-digit scorer from last season’s 23-8 outfit is 5-11 junior guard Amari Robinson-Wales (10 ppg, 3.1 rpg). “Gavin is an overall good kid who is young and talented,” Drake said. “He’s a cool customer on the court, and nothing seems to faze him. Last year, he became much more aggressive as the season went along, and that’s the way we want him to be. “Amari is also very talented. He’s always been a good shooter, and a lot more will be asked of him in terms of scoring the ball with Darrion gone. Also, I look for Amari to step up and have a

Gavin Wimsatt

Amari Robinson-Wales

Tucker Hayden

2019-20 SCHEDULE 12/3 Union County 7:30 12/7 University Heights (at Muhlenberg County) 4 12/10 at Warren Central 7:30 12/13 at Daviess County 7 12/17 Christian County 7:30 12/21 vs. Waggener (at Fern Creek) 9 a.m. 1/3 Apollo 7:30 1/4 vs. Elizabethtown (at Central Hardin) 5 1/7 at Ohio County 7 1/10 at Owensboro Catholic 7 1/17 Muhlenberg County 7:30 1/21 at Grayson County 7:30 1/24 at Daviess County 7 2/4 Breckinridge County 7 2/7 at Apollo 7 2/11 Bowling Green 7:30 2/14 Owensboro Catholic 7 2/21 Henderson County 7:30

And the OHS coach wants his team defense to be better this season. “That’s been a focus,” Drake said. “We’ve got to make smart decisions, stay with our man, play good team defense. “One thing some people forget is Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com that Darrion Wimsatt wasn’t just a good Owensboro’s Isaac Humphrey looks to pass during practice Nov. 12 at the school. offensive player, he got it done at both ends of the floor, so we have to step up much better season defensively, which is a guy who does what he does very well. Greathouse is an old-school warrior who and replace what’s been lost there.” something he’s been working on.” Drake believes his team will have is OHS through and through. Other returnees expected to make plenty of chances to take perimeter shots “Tucker and Matt are out there significant impacts include 6-3 senior — now, they just have to make them. battling to get better and become key forward Isaac Humphrey (5.5 ppg, 4 “I expect teams to be packing it in on rpg), 6-foot senior power forward Jaiden contributors.” us and playing a lot of zone,” Drake said. Drake also expects 5-7 senior guard Greathouse (9.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), 6-foot “So, we’re going to have to step up and I’monte Owsley to return. A star on the senior guard Tucker Hayden and 6-foot gridiron, Owsley missed the 2019 football make the open shots we take. junior forward Matt Brown. “Isaac and Jaiden are players who hate season after suffering a torn ACL in the “Beyond this, we want to control summer. In basketball, Drake considers to lose,” Drake said. “Isaac’s a guy who the tempo and hopefully dominate the has found his niche within this program, him an A-plus defender. glass with our length and size up front.”


8 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Owensboro Girls

Lady Devils looking for more consistency Owensboro will lean on veteran Winstead

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BY JIM PICKENS

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

he Owensboro Lady Devils truly had an up-and-down season in 2018-19, particularly in their first 15 games. The Lady Devils streaked from the gate with six consecutive victories, then dropped nine in a row. OHS was more balanced the rest of the way, finishing 13-17 overall and dropping a 59-56 heartbreaker in the first round of the 9th District Tournament to eventual 3rd Region runner-up Apollo. This season, Owensboro will be looking for more start-to-finish consistency and must overcome the loss of star guard Amaya Curry, who transferred to Apollo for her sophomore year. “Our numbers are good, and we’ve had some great sessions in the preseason with this group,” Lady Devils coach Jansen Locher said. “We have a lot of talented and young girls on our roster, and we’re excited to see what they can accomplish once they gain some varsity experience.” Owensboro will look to veteran Mykael Winstead, a mercurial 5-foot-4 senior guard for both leadership and production. She averaged 9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a junior. “We’ll be leaning on her experience,” Locher said of Winstead. “She’s a quality defender who leads us in steals, and she’s a great rebounder for her size. She’s worked hard to develop her shot, and I think she’ll be improved in that area this season.” OHS will also be counting on 5-5 junior forward Lyric Lawrence (3.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and 5-11 senior power forward Nia Gonzo (4.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg). “Lyric was a part-time starter last year, and she has shown the most improvement of anyone with her jump shot,” Locher said. “She’s going to have to score the ball more for us this season, and I believe she’ll respond to that challenge. “If Nia uses her size and strength the right way she’s looking at a double-double night in and night out.” Two other guards who figure to

Lyric Lawrence

Melia Moorman A’Lyrica Hughes

2019-20 SCHEDULE 12/5 at Ohio County 7 12/6 Whitesville Trinity 6 12/10 Muhlenberg County 7 12/13 Daviess County 5:30 12/16 at McLean County 7 12/17 Christian County 6 12/20 at Hopkinsville 7:30 12/27 vs. Louisville Butler (at Murray) 10:30 12/27 vs. Union County (at Murray) 12:15 1/3 Apollo 5:30 1/6 at Grayson County 7 1/10 at Owensboro Catholic 5:30 1/11 Greenwood 5 1/13 Hopkinsville 7 1/20 Union County 7:30 1/24 at Daviess County 5:30 1/25 at Meade County 3:30 1/28 Hancock County 5:30 2/1 Henderson County 3:30 2/3 at Butler County 7:30 2/7 at Apollo 5:30 2/10 at Breckinridge County 7 2/14 Owensboro Catholic 5:30 2/15 at McLean County 3:30 2/17 at Whitesville Trinity 6

total rebounds last season, and we’ve got to attack the glass like that again, make sure we get some second and third opportunities to score. “I also think we can be a good Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com Owensboro’s Nia Gonzo runs through a drill with her teammates during practice Nov. half-court defense team with our personnel.” 13 at the high school. Moreover, Locher will be looking for improvement at the free-throw line, where make a splash are Melia Moorman, Kaylyn,” Locher said. “She has a bulldog OHS shot just over 60% last season. a 5-5 freshman who got some varsity mentality on the court that we need, and “We get a lot of chances at the foul line, experience near the end of last season, we hope to get her back sooner than and we need to be able to take advantage and A’Lyrica Hughes, a 5-7 eighth-grader. later.” On the mend, meanwhile, is 5-foot-7 Locher is looking for improved defense of them,” Locher said. “In some of our best wins last season, we hit big free junior power forward Kaylyn Sowders, which, in turn, could ignite the offense. throws at the end of games. In some of who underwent shoulder surgery in “We have to cause some chaos, get our close losses, we missed free throws August and may not be back until late some steals that lead to layups — that’s late — so, it’s a very important part of the January. what our identity needs to be,” Locher game.” “It’s a wait-and-see situation with said. “We were seventh in the state in


Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Owensboro Catholic Boys

Basketball

9

Young in spots, Aces confident in talent Catholic will be aided by strong sophomore class BY JIM PICKENS

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MESSENGER-INQUIRER

he Owensboro Catholic Aces put together a solid season in 2018-19, winning 18 of 30 games and reaching the 3rd Region Tournament semifinals before falling to Breckinridge County. Now, the Aces are hoping to build on that success and put together a team that can take them to the next level under fifth-year head coach Tim Riley. “We’re awfully young, as we have three seniors and one junior in the program,” said Riley, a veteran coach who directed Owensboro Catholic to its first and only KHSAA State Tournament appearance in his first season at the helm in 2015-16. “But we do have talent, and as the season progresses we’re wanting to get better and better. There’s a chance we could get off to a slow start, but we want to be the best we can be as a team late in the season, leading into postseason play.” Two seniors Riley refers to as “cornerstone players” — 6-foot guard Andrew Riney, an All-9th District performer last season (7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg), and 6-3 Drew Hartz, a superstar quarterback on the gridiron who returns to the hardwood after being the team’s second-leading scorer last season (9.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg). “Andrew is a great defensive player and an outstanding rebounder,” Riley said, “and Drew is just a winner, a competitor who is also a very good basketball player.” Also back is 6-6 sophomore forward Ji Webb, whose skill and athleticism will make him hard to guard. “He’s long, athletic and a great leaper,” Riley said of Webb, “and I believe he can create some matchup problems, for sure. He’s getting better every day, and I’m looking forward to watching his development during the course of the season. “Without question, Ji is one of the most talented players I’ve ever coached.” Another sophomore to watch will be 5-6 point guard Brian Griffith (6.3 ppg). “He’s a very valuable player for us,” Riley said of Griffith. “He can run the

Andrew Riney

Ji Webb

Logan Jones

2019-20 SCHEDULE 12/3 at Greenwood 7 12/6 at Meade County 5:30 12/9 at Breckinridge County 7 12/13 Apollo 7:30 12/14 John Hardin 3 12/20 vs. Todd County Central (at Butler County) 5:30 12/21 vs. Murray (at Butler County) 1 p.m. 12/21 vs. Hickman County (at Butler County) 4 12/27-29 vs. TBD at Logan County 1/2 McLean County 7:30 1/4 vs. TBD in 3rd Region All ‘A’ Tournament (at Edmonson County) 1/10 Owensboro 7 1/14 at Whitesville Trinity 7:30 1/17 at Apollo 7:30 1/20 Butler County 7:30 p.m. 1/23 vs. TBD at All ‘A’ Classic (at Richmond) 1/28 Christian County 6 1/31 Daviess County 7 2/4 at Madisonville North Hopkins 7 2/7 at Daviess County 7 2/10 at Central Hardin 6 2/11 at Union County 7 2/14 at Owensboro 7 2/18 Castle (Ind.) 7 2/21 at Muhlenberg County 7:30 Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer | geans@messenger-inquirer.com

Owensboro Catholic’s Brian Griffith shoots during practice with the team on Nov. 7 at Riley said. “They’re really good athletes and really good basketball players — they the Owensboro Sportscenter. just need to continue to gain experience at the varsity level.” point, he can play some two-guard, and assistant coach. Riley’s expectations for the Aces wherever you put him he’s an outstand“Gray is versatile and can play all over haven’t wavered. ing defender.” the floor,” Riley said of Weaver, who aver“The program is moving in the right Logan Jones, a 6-1 forward without aged five points and two rebounds at CAL much varsity experience, is the team’s last season. “He’s definitely going to help direction — we’ve won seven regional tournament games the past four seaonly other senior. us.” An important addition for the Aces, Three more sophomores, Luke Scales, sons,” Riley said. “My expectations are to get out of the 9th District, get to the 3rd however, will be 6-4 junior forward Sam McFarland and Braden Mundy, are Region Tournament and make a run. Gray Weaver, a transfer from Christian also expected to figure into the mix by “The key is to get out of the district; if Academy-Louisville. His father, Shannon season’s end. Weaver, has joined Riley’s staff as an “Our sophomore group is pretty solid,” we do that, we’ve got a shot.”


10 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

Owensboro Catholic Girls

Lady Aces reload, expect to push tempo Senior McKay will lead way for Catholic

T

BY JIM PICKENS

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

he Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces enjoyed an exceptional season in 2018-19, going 29-8, winning the All ‘A’ Classic small-school state tournament, capturing 9th District and 3rd Region championships and reaching the semifinals of the KHSAA State Tournament. What to do for an encore? Caroline Reid Despite losing a significant amount of production to graduation, veteran Catholic coach Michael Robertson will build around standout 6-foot senior forward Hannah McKay and hope to rebuild a championship Spencer Harvey contender. “We’ve got to replace a lot of points and rebounds,” Robertson said, in reference to graduated players such at Mackenzie Keelin, Sarah Beth Clemens and Madelyn Lyon. “Because of our returning Lily Moore personnel, I think we’ll probably be more uptempo, utilize our press and try to wear out the opposition in terms of style of play. “We’ll get into the season, see how things go for us and then explore all options.” McKay, who recently signed with NCAA Division I Murray State, is this season’s unequivocal leader after averaging team-highs of 12.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She was also the Messenger-Inquirer 3rd Region Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the All ‘A’ Classic. “She’s been a tremendous part of our success during her time at Catholic,”

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com

Owensboro Catholic’s Hannah McKay gets to the basket during practice Nov. 7 at the school’s gym. Robertson said of McKay. “She’s a good rebounder with a good motor, and she’s expanded her shooting range for this season. “Hannah’s hard to guard, and she can dominate a game.” The Lady Aces will also be counting on a trio of senior guards — 5-6 Caroline Reid, 5-8 Spencer Harvey and 5-9 Isabella Henning — to score and distribute the ball. “These three have a lot of experience, and it should serve them well this season,” Robertson said. “Their SEE TEMPO/PAGE 18

2019-20 SCHEDULE 12/2 at Castle (Ind.) 7 12/6 at Bowling Green 7:30 12/7 Pope John Paul II, Tenn. 7:45 12/10 Ohio County 7 12/13 Apollo 5:30 12/15 at Meade County 2:30 12/20 vs. Fern Creek (at Bullitt East), 3:30 12/27 vs. Union City, Tenn. (at South Warren) 3 12/27 vs. Newport Central Catholic (at South Warren) 7 12/28 vs. Bardstown (at South Warren) 5:30 1/2 vs. McLean County

(All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament at Hancock County) 1/10 Owensboro 1/12 Louisville Sacred Heart 1/17 at Apollo 1/25 Evansville Memorial 1/28 Muhlenberg County 1/31 Daviess County 2/7 at Daviess County 2/11 at Christian County 2/14 at Owensboro 2/17 Henderson County 2/21 at Breckinridge County

6 5:30 2:30 5:30 7 7:30 5:30 5:30 7:30 5:30 7 7


Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

10th District Boys

Basketball

11

Muhlenberg to face fierce tests in district McLean, Ohio expected to contend for title BY JIM PICKENS

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MESSENGER-INQUIRER

uhlenberg County returns the core of a team that went 16-11, won the 10th District championship and reached the semifinals of the 3rd Region Tournament. Ohio County is coming off a 15-16 season, with the Eagles finishing runner-up to Muhlenberg in the 10th District Tournament. The Eagles lost a three-point decision to Breckinridge County in the first round of the regional tournament. McLean County came on strong at the end of a 11-15 season in 2018-19, and the Cougars have new leadership as veteran coach Darren Lynam takes the reins.

MCLEAN COUNTY

The Cougars will be led by Logan Patterson, a 6-foot-2 senior who emerged as one of the leading scorers and rebounders in western Kentucky last season (21.3 ppg, 10 rpg). Patterson enters the new season just 300 points shy of the program’s scoring record. “We expect to get over the hump this year and have a winning season, which would be the first since 2012,” Lynam said. “We hopefully will make a run at the All ‘A’ Region and the district championship as well.” In addition to Patterson, McLean returns 6-1 senior Jacob Clark (13.5 ppg), 6-3 junior Brady Dame (8.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg), 5-9 senior Brayden Bishop (4.5 ppg) and 5-10 senior Trey Englehardt (4.8 ppg). Newcomer Isaac Springer, a 5-10 senior guard, is also expected to make an impact.

Expect the Cougars to get it out and go. “We will try to push the ball up the floor when possible,” Lynam said. “Keys for us will be being patient when we need to run our offense, keeping our turnovers to a minimum and playing solid team defense.”

MUHLENBERG COUNTY

Early indications are that the Mustangs could have a big season, but coach Kyle Eades knows nothing will come easy. “Once again, we are going to play a challenging schedule,” Eades said, “and this year the 10th District will be as competitive as any district in our region — I look for every game played within our district to be highly competitive.” Muhlenberg is led by 5-foot-11 junior guard Nash Divine, the team’s leading scorer last season at 12 points per game.

2019-20 SCHEDULES MCLEAN COUNTY 12/3 Hancock County 7 12/6 at Grayson County 7:30 12/9 Evansville Christian 7 12/13 Ohio County 7:30 12/14 Russellville 4:30 12/17 Dawson Springs 7:15 12/19 Frederick Fraize TBD 12/20 vs. Murray (at Butler County) 7 12/21 vs. Hickman County (at Butler County) 11 12/21 at Butler County 5:30 12/27 vs. Caverna (at Hancock County) TBD 12/30 Atherton 12:30 1/2 at Owensboro Catholic 7:30 1/4 vs. TBD (All ‘A’ Classic at Edmonson County) TBD 1/10 at Ohio County 7:30 1/14 at Muhlenberg County 7:45 1/21 Webster County 7:30 1/24 Caldwell County 7:30 1/27 Whitesville Trinity 7:30 1/30 at Hopkins County Central 7:30 2/1 Breckinridge County 4:30 2/4 Logan County 7:30 2/7 Muhlenberg County 7:45 2/11 at Daviess County 7:30 2/13 at Butler County 7:30 2/15 at Dawson Springs 7:15

2/18 at Edmonson County 7:30 2/20 Crittenden County 7:30 2/21 Apollo 7:30 MUHLENBERG COUNTY 12/3 at Logan County 7:30 12/6 Hopkinsville 7:30 12/7 Jeffersontown 7:30 12/10 Hopkins County Central 7:30 12/13 at Caldwell County 7:30 12/17 at Ohio County 7:45 12/19-21 at Beech (Tenn.) 12/27 vs. Lincoln County (at Lexington Catholic) 7 12/28-29 vs. TBD (at Lexington Catholic) 1/4 at Franklin-Simpson 4:30 1/7 Grayson County 7:30 1/10 at Henderson County 7:30 1/11 Bowling Green 7:30 1/14 McLean County 7:45 1/17 at Owensboro 7:30 1/21 Whitesville Trinity 7:30 1/24 Ohio County 7:45 1/28 Butler County 7:30 1/31 at Apollo 7:30 2/1 at Hancock County 7 2/4 at Daviess County 7:30 2/7 at McLean County 7:45 2/11 Breckinridge County 7 2/14 at Hopkinsville 7:30

2/18 2/21

at Todd County Central 7:30 Owensboro Catholic 7:30 OHIO COUNTY 12/3 Meade County 5:30 12/6 at Hancock County 7 12/13 at McLean County 7:30 12/14 Evansville Central 1 12/17 Muhlenberg County 7:45 12/21 at Warren East 7 12/27 Todd County Central 9 a.m. 12/27 Edmonson County 7:45 12/28 Henderson County 3:45 1/2 vs. Atherton (at Louisville Eastern) 1 1/7 Owensboro 7 1/10 McLean County 7:30 1/14 at Grayson County 7 1/17 Daviess County 7 1/21 at Barren County 7:30 1/24 at Muhlenberg County 7:45 1/28 Central Hardin 7 1/31 at South Warren 7:30 2/4 Apollo 7 2/6 at Butler County 7 2/7 at Breckinridge County 7 2/11 at Whitesville Trinity 7:30 2/14 at Edmonson County 7:30 2/18 Logan County 7:30 2/20 at Madisonville North Hopkins 7:30

“Nash has improved his ability to score in different ways,” Eades said. “He’s a hard guy to double-team, simply because of his unselfishness and willingness to find an open teammate.” Also back are 6-3 senior forward Hayden Perkins (3.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg), 5-8 senior guard Noah Phillips (3.8 ppg), 5-11 junior guard Isaac Rose (6.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg), 6-1 junior forward Asher Carver (3.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg), 6-1 junior forward Alex Johnston (5.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg), 5-11 Cole Vincent, 5-10 sophomore guard Trey Lovell and 5-11 sophomore guard Davion Summers. “It is always our goal to try to be a little bit better than we were the day before, whether it’s a practice or game,” Eades said. “If we can maintain that mindset, it puts us in position to be playing our best basketball by tournament time.” SEE MUSTANGS/PAGE 18

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12 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

10th District Girls

Muhlenberg remains the measuring stick Ohio, McLean anticipate improvement

“She runs the show for us,” Harper 10th District Tournament opener to has said of Armour. “She sees the court McLean County. so well and makes good decisions with Nonetheless, Ohio County has much the basketball. She’s a true floor leader to build on leading into the new season. BY JIM PICKENS McLean County coach Arlando Johnin every sense of the term.” “We have a very tough schedule, MESSENGER-INQUIRER son said. “If they produce, we will have Two other double-digit scorespecially early on,” Lady Eagles coach ers return — 5-11 senior forward success. uhlenberg County, coming off Matt Brigance said. “We feel like we Elisabeth Joines (11 ppg, 6 rpg) and 5-5 “We return our entire team and, of a district championship and an can compete with anyone and just want senior guard Grace Hauslein (11 ppg, 3 course, that will be a big plus.” appearance in the 3rd Region to continue to get better and be playing apg, 3 rpg). Johnson said the cohesiveness of a Tournament semifinals, remains the Also expected to make an impact are our best basketball at the end of the veteran group should be an advantage girls’ basketball team to beat in the season.” 5-9 junior forward Alyssa for the Lady Cougars. 10th District under veteran coach Top returnees include “Our strength will be Browning, 5-8 freshman “Our strength will be our experiMike Harper. junior guard Kelsey Kenguard-forward Maryour experience, as we Ohio County, meanwhile, is hoping ence, as we have all seen it together,” Cate Boggess and 5-5 nedy (13 ppg, 5.4 rpg). he said. “We want to play a faster pace, junior guard Chloe Lynn. have all seen it to build on the 21-10 record it fash“She’s our primary balla style that will allow us to get easy ioned last season. The Lady Eagles “We’ll be an uptempo, together. We want to handler,” Brigance said fastbreak style of team were upset by McLean County in the scoring opportunities. of Kennedy, “and one of play a faster pace, a “Makena must be a force on both employing pressure first round of the 10th District Tourstyle that will allow us our better defenders and ends of the floor, we must create easy defense,” Harper said. nament. rebounders.” “Our goal is to compete to get easy scoring baskets, and we must score from the Despite a 14-17 record in 2018-19, Also back is senior with the best teams in 3-point line, the lane and from the foul opportunities.” the Lady Cougars have newfound Katie Probus (4.4 ppg, 2.2 our region when tournaline — our defense will be solid. confidence and momemtum after rpg), along with sophoment time comes around. “We want to win district and beat — Arlando Johnson more interior players appearing in last season’s regional “We need to stay Muhlenberg. They’re the gold standard McLean County coach Heaven Vanover (7 ppg, tournament at the Sportscenter. healthy, consistently (in the10th District), so we must beat 5.9 rpg), Rain Embry (6.6 keep the scoreboard them to reach our goals.” MCLEAN COUNTY moving and do a good job of reboundppg, 5.3 rpg) and Camden Sandefur A trio of juniors will figure promiing.” (2.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg). Sophomore guard MUHLENBERG COUNTY nently in the Lady Cougars’ success Ella Gaddis is also expected to make an The Mustangs will be led by one this season — Makena Rush (12 ppg, OHIO COUNTY impact. of the region’s best all-around players 12 rpg), Bailie Walker (11 ppg, 8 rpg) The Lady Eagles sat 20-6 entering “The keys for us will be to outin 5-foot-9 senior point guard Destin and Kamryn McMahon (8 ppg, 4 rpg). Armour, who averaged 15 points, six the final week of the regular season, rebound our opponent, get better with “We have a strong junior group, our decision-making and, of course, rebounds and five assists per game as a but dropped four of their final five and these three will lead our offense,” junior. games down the stretch, including the make shots.”

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Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

10th District Girls

Basketball

13

2019-20 SCHEDULES MCLEAN COUNTY 12/3 at Todd County Central 7:30 12/5 at South Spencer (Ind.) 7 12/7 vs. Louisville Male (at Owensboro Catholic) 6 12/9 at Warren Central 7:30 12/13 Ohio County 6 12/16 Owensboro 7 12/17 at Webster County 6 12/20 vs. Brown (at Taylor County) 6:30 12/21 at Taylor County 11:30 12/30 Hopkinsville TBD 1/2 vs. Owensboro Catholic (All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament  at Hancock County) 6 1/4 at University Heights 3 1/10 at Ohio County 6 1/11 Edmonson County 2:30 1/14 at Muhlenberg County 6 1/17 Daviess County 7 1/18 at Calloway County 4:30 1/20 Madisonville North Hopkins 7 1/28 at Whitesville Trinity 7 2/1 Breckinridge County 3

2/3 at Grayson County 7:30 2/7 Muhlenberg County 6 2/8 at Hopkins County Central 2 2/10 Hancock County 7 2/11 Meade County 7 2/15 Owensboro 3:30 2/18 at Edmonson County 6 2/20 at Union County 7:30 MUHLENBERG COUNTY 12/3 Christian County 7:30 12/5 at Hancock County 7:30 12/6 Hopkinsville 6 12/10 at Owensboro 7 12/12 at Bowling Green 7:30 12/14 Caldwell County 1 12/17 at Ohio County 6 12/20 at Bullitt East 5 12-21-23 vs. TBD at Bullitt East, TBD 12/27 vs. First Baptist Academy, Fla. (at Fort Myers, Fla.) 8 a.m. 12/28,30 vs. TBD at Fort Myers, Fla. TBD 1/4 Hopkins County Central 3:30 1/7 at Meade County 7

1/11 1/14 1/17 1/20 1/24 1/28 2/1 2/3 2/7 2/10 2/13 2/15 2/17 2/20

Breckinridge County McLean County South Warren Daviess County Ohio County at Owensboro Catholic at Webster County Henderson County at McLean County at Apollo Logan County at Murray Grayson County at Graves County

OHIO COUNTY 12/2 at Logan County 12/5 Owenbsoro 12/7 at Lyon County 12/10 at Owensboro Catholic 12/13 at McLean County 12/17 Muhlenberg County 12/19 Hopkins County Central 12/20 Hancock County

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14 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

11th District Boys

Hornets hope stability sparks turnaround Hancock expects experience to pay dividends BY JIM PICKENS

our leaders.” Newcomers projected to make nstability played a role in an impact include 5-11 senior guard undermining the Hancock Colton Wethington and 6-2 sophoCounty Hornets last season, more for ward Ryan Ogle. as head coach Mike Orr battled “Colton is a ver y strong and physiserious health issues. The Hornets cal guard who brings some toughnever really got off the ground in a ness and can score in a challenging 6-22 campaign. variety of ways,” Orr said. Hancock County hit the “We have quite a “Ryan is a big guy who can reset button, however, and bit more score inside and out.” Orr is back on the sideOrr believes there are experience than line as the Hornets seek a reasons for optimism. last year, so we transformative season in “We have quite a bit should benefit 2019-20. more experience than last “The health of our greatly from year, so we should benefit coaching staff was an issue that. We feel we greatly from that,” Orr last year, and the guys can compete in said. “We feel we can comhad three coaches,” Orr pete in the district.” said. “Hopefully, I can stay the district.” healthy and we can have — Mike Orr BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY stability this season.” The Fighting Tigers Hancock County coach Among the Hornets’ top lost seven seniors from returnees is Collin Elder, last season’s excellent 28-4 a 5-foot-8 senior who averaged eight team, which reached the 3rd Region points and four assists per game last Tournament championship game season. before losing to Owensboro. “Collin is an excellent 3-point The cupboard, however, is not shooter and passer,” Orr said. “And, bare in Harned. he has developed into a leader in the “We want to win the 11th District, preseason. He has a ver y high bascompete in the 3rd Region Tournaketball IQ.” ment and hopefully have a chance Also back is 6-1, 235-pound senior at winning it,” Breck County coach for ward Mason Potts (9 ppg, 6 rpg). Patrick Critchelow season. “We are “Mason is a ver y aggressive interi- bigger than we were last year, and we or player who has improved his post have several guys back who played play,” Orr said. “He’s another one of on the regional runner-up team. We

I

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

2019-20 SCHEDULE HANCOCK COUNTY 12/3 at McLean County 7 12/6 Ohio County 7 12/10 at Frederick Fraize 7:30 12/13 at Breckinridge County 7 12/17 Daviess County 7 12/20 at Trigg County 7:30 12/27 Caverna (at Hancock County)aTBD 1/4 vs. Whitesville Trinity (All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament at Edmonson County) TBD 1/10 at Meade County 7

1/21 1/24 1/25 1/31 2/1 2/6 2/10 2/14 2/17 2/21

at Butler County Meade County Edmonson County Frederick Fraize Muhlenberg County Whitesville Trinity at Apollo Breckinridge County at Henderson County at Grayson County

7:30 7 7 7:30 7 7 6 7 7:30 7:30

have good inside-outside options this year.” Top returnees include 6-3 senior guard Kaeveon Mitchell (7 ppg, 3 rpg). “He’ll run the show,” Critchelow said of Mitchell. “He’s athletic, quick and also our best defender with a long wing-span.” Others expected to shine include 6-foot senior guard Brock Lucas and 6-6 senior center Justin Shrewsberr y. “He’s solid at both ends of floor,” Critchelow said of Lucas. “He’s a winner, a competitor.” Also expected to make an impact will be 6-7 senior for ward Trey Ir win, 6-2 senior guard Isaac Seeger and 5-10 junior guard Kason Morris.

MEADE COUNTY

from scratch this season after taking a heavy hit from graduation. “We lost ever yone from last year,” said Meade County coach Jason Tripure, whose team went 12-18 last season and was eliminated by Owensboro in the first round of the 3rd Region Tournament. “We have no returning players at the varsity level.” Newcomers hoping to make an impact include 6-5 senior for ward Mitchell Dozier, 6-5 junior for ward Casey Turner and 6-foot sophomore guard Cooper Crump. “Mitchell is a good athlete who can play inside and out,” Tripure said, “and Turner is a good shooter who was injured most of last season. “Crump is a good ballhandler who was injured all of last season.”

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Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

11th District Girls

Basketball

15

Lady Hornets seek bounce-back season Hancock wanting defense to ignite offense

three rebounds and three steals per contest as a freshman. “She’s a speed defender and great BY JIM PICKENS dent she’ll be able to help our team in in transition,” Lady Tigers coach MESSENGER-INQUIRER that role,” Husk said. “Haven was our Chad Moorman said of Grimes. Also back are 5-7 junior for ward ancock County’s girls’ basketball primar y ballhandler last year and did a great job for us. She’s made great Aleghia Mucker (9 ppg, 7 rpg, 3 spg) team struggled through a 6-23 improvement and looks ready to lead and 5-6 senior guard Natalee Tabor season in 2018-19, and Kevin our team.” (6 ppg, 3 rpg). Husk will be seeking to alter those The Lady Hornets will “Aleghia is a strong, versatile numbers in a more also rely on 5-1 freshman guard,” Moorman said, “and Natalee positive direction in his “We’re very young guard Bailey Poole and is a veteran, a great defender who second season at the Lady as a team, but the 5-5 eighth-grader Lily Rob- can also knock down 3s.” Hornets’ helm. effort of these girls erts. Newcomers include sophomore “Key for us will be “We’re ver y young as a twin guards Skylar Tucker and Sydwill be there every effort and intensity all team,” Husk said, “but the ney Tucker. game and ever y game,” night. They have a effort of these girls will be “We will look to continue our sucHusk said. “I expect our knack for making there ever y night. They cess in district play, tr y to win our defense to create a lot of the right play.” have a knack for making fifth straight title,” Moorman said. our offense for our team the right play. “But our goal ever y year is to win this year. — Kevin Husk “We’ll hang our hat on the regional championship.” “We need toughness Hancock County coach our effort and intensity.” because we’re an undersized team, and we need BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY to play as (a unit), which will make us The Lady Tigers are coming off ver y difficult to defend.” a banner season, having won the Hancock County will be led by 11th District Tournament title and 5-foot-9 senior guard Kierra Duncan, advanced to the semifinals of the 3rd who averaged 14 points and seven Region Tournament. rebounds per game as a junior. AnothBreck County, 21-10 last season, er floor leader will be 5-4 junior point will be hoping to step up a notch guard Haven Riley behind the play of 5-6 sophomore “Kierra will be asked to play mulpoint guard Isabella Grimes, who tiple positions this year, and I’m confi- averaged 14 points, four assists,

H

1/10 1/11 1/13 1/16 1/21 1/24 1/25 1/28 1/30 1/31 2/4 2/6 2/10 2/14 2/17 2/21

at Meade County at Whitesville Trinity Tell City (Ind.) Grayson County Perry Central (Ind.) Meade County Edmonson County at Owensboro Butler County Frederick Fraize Daviess County Whitesville Trinity at McLean County Breckinridge County Ohio County at Grayson County

SEE HORNETS/PAGE 19

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2019-20 SCHEDULE HANCOCK COUNTY 12/2 at Butler County 7:30 12/5 Muhlenberg County 7:30 12/7 at Apollo 3:30 12/9 at Cannelton (Ind.) 6 12/10 at Frederick Fraize 6 12/13 at Breckinridge County 5:30 12/16 Union County 7:30 12/19 vs. Daviess County (at Ohio County) 5:30 12/20 at Ohio County 7 12/21 vs. Hopkins County Central (at Ohio County) 1 12/31 Springs Valley (Ind.) 11 1/2 at South Spencer (Ind.) 5:30 1/4 vs. TBD (All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament at Edmonson County) TBD

FREDERICK FRAIZE

The Lady Aces are coming off an 8-22 season, but the team won three of their final five games in 2018-19 to generate some optimism for the upcoming campaign. Coach Brian Weatherholt’s contingent will be led by 4-10 sophomore guard Olivia Weatherholt, who averaged 10.8 points and 3 rebounds per game as a freshman. Also back are 5-3 junior guard Bailey Hurst (8.9 ppg, team-best 6.5 rpg), 5-8 sophomore for ward Lindsey Thurman (7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and 4-10 junior guard Lily Nottingham (5.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg). Frederick Fraize was eliminated by Breckinridge County 62-28 in the

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16 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

12th District Boys

Trinity seeking step up within 3rd Region Raiders expecting to utilize improved depth BY JIM PICKENS

high-motor player who always seems to be in the right place at the right time — a winner who does whatever hitesville Trinity went 13-16 it takes to win.” last season, and there are Also expected to be impact playreasons to believe the Raiders ers will be seniors Brenden Wathen, will be more competitive within the Kevin Foster, Will Edge and Cade 3rd Region this time around. Mills, along with junior Ben Goetz. “From a pure talent standpoint, Impact sophomores include Landon this is probably the most talented Huff and Bailey Wright, and freshteam from top to bottom man Denver Dickens is that I’ve had while at Trinexpected to challenge for “I expect Trinity to ity,” Raiders fourth-year a starting role. be in contention coach Nathan West said. Others in the mix are for a 12th District freshmen “I have 15 guys who can Nathan Hernancontribute at the varsity championship and dez, Landon Smith and level. an All ‘A’ (regional) Gavin Howard. “Because of this depth, “I expect Trinity to be championship this we plan to play at a faster in contention for a 12th season.” pace than we did last District championship season and look to make — Nathan West and an All ‘A’ (regional) plays in transition. DefenTrinity coach championship this seasively, we will pressure son,” West said. the ball as much as possible, using our depth to wear teams GRAYSON COUNTY down.” The Cougars won the 12th District Trinity will rely heavily on a pair of championship last season and are seniors — 5-foot-8 guard Ethan How- hoping to repeat in 2019-20 under ard (10.1 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.4 apg) and coach Travis Johnston. 6-foot senior Landon Hall (6.9 ppg, “Like ever y year, we hope to win 3.1 rpg). the 12th District Tournament and “Ethan is a dynamic point guard, compete in the 3rd Region Tournaincredible athlete and tremendous ment,” Johnston said. “That will defender,” West said. “Landon is a be difficult this season, as the 12th MESSENGER-INQUIRER

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District has all good teams and the region as a whole does well.” Grayson will be led by 6-foot senior guard Nolan Shartzer (13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and 6-1 sophomore for ward Hunter Tomes (1.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg). “Nolan is a versatile player who is strong, quick and has a great first step — he’s also an excellent defender,” Johnston said. “Tomes is long and athletic, a good post player and a ver y good rebounder.” Other key players include 5-9 sophomore guard Keegan Sharp, 5-6 junior guard Jaxon Higdon and 6-3 junior for ward Evan Clark.

EDMONSON COUNTY

The Wildcats finished 12-18 last season, but defeated Butler County in the first round of the 12th District Tournament to make it to the regional tournament. Veteran coach Michael McClinitic returns a pair of double-digit scorers in 6-3 junior for ward Chaz Wilson (14 ppg, 10 rpg) and 6-1 senior guard Dalton Decker (12.5 ppg, 6 apg, 4 rpg). “We have a lot of players back who got some varsity experience last SEE TRINITY/PAGE 19

2019-20 SCHEDULE WHITESVILLE TRINITY 12/2 at Frederick Fraize 12/3 at Daviess County 12/5at Henderson County 12/7 Apollo 12/10 Edmonson County 12/13 at Butler County 12/14 at Todd County Central 12/17 at Breckinridge County 12/21 Crittendon County 12/26 vs. McCreary Central (at Williamstown) 12/27-28 vs. TBD (at Williamstown) 1/2 vs. Frederick Fraize (All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament  at Edmonson County) 1/4 vs. Hancock County 

7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 6 6:30 7:30 TBD 5 TBD

TBD

(All ‘A’ 3rd Region Tournament at Edmonson County) 1/14 Owensboro Catholic 1/17 at Edmonson County 1/18 at Russellville 1/21 at Muhlenberg County 1/24 Butler County 1/27 at McLean County 1/28 Meade County 1/31 at Grayson County 2/6 at Hancock County 2/8 vs. Hopkins County Central (at Sportscenter) 2/10 Cloverport 2/11 Ohio County 2/14 Grayson County 2/17 Webster County 2/20 Breckinridge County

TBD 7:30 7 3 7:30 7:30 7:30 6:30 7:30 7 TBD 7:30 7:30 7:30 7:30 7


Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

12th District Girls

Basketball

17

Hernandez returns to lead Lady Raiders Former Trinity player excited about direction BY JIM PICKENS

MESSENGER-INQUIRER

A

familiar face returns to the sideline at Whitesville Trinity, where former Lady Raiders coach and star player Emily Hernandez once more takes the reigns. Trinity was 12-19 in John Paul Cummings’ final season as coach, advancing to the 3rd Region Tournament after knocking off Grayson County in the first round of the 12th District Tournament. Now, Hernandez — also a former girls’ coach at Owensboro — will tr y to parlay that momentum into even more success on the hardwood for the Lady Raiders. “We have some talented players returning,” Hernandez said. “They are a great group to work with, and I look for ward to a fun season.” Part of the optimism stems from the return of 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Cassidy Morris, who averaged 18.4 points and 11 rebounds per game as a freshman. Also back are 5-3 freshman point guard Josie Aull (11.3 ppg, 2.2 apg), 5-9 senior center Morgan Kinsey (7.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg), 5-9 sophomore for ward Katherine Hibbit (1.5 ppg, 6 rpg), and 5-4 sophomore guard Hadley Hatfield, one of the team’s top defenders. Five-foot freshman guard Allie Graham will also make an impact. “She’s a shooting threat for us,” Hernandez said of Graham. “She brings tenacity and determination to our team.”

BUTLER COUNTY

The youth-laden Lady Bears will be looking to improve on last season’s 6-22 record under second-year coach Lexie Belcher. Butler County went on a 10-game losing skid last season and opened

with just two victories in its first 15 games, but were considerably more competitive over the final six weeks of the season. Leading scorer Jaelyn Taylor, a 5-7 sophomore guard, returns after averaging 11.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season. Also back for the Lady Bears are 5-6 senior point guard Jacie Ward (6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 5-7 sophomore guard Gracie Cardwell (3.7 ppg, 4 rpg), 5-5 sophomore guard Graci Leach (3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and 5-9 sophomore center Taylin Clark (2.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Last season, Butler County won three of its final eight regular-season games before being defeated by Edmonson County (59-43) in the first round of the 12th District Tournament.

EDMONSON COUNTY

The Lady Cats return four starters from last year’s team that went 24-8 and won the 12th District Tournament championship. “We want to get better each day and want to be the first in school histor y to go back-to-back-to back

district champs,” Edmonson County coach Bart Weaver said. “Our bread and butter is good defense and rebounding.” Edmonson returns four starters from last season, including leading scorer Katie Lindsey (11.1 ppg), a 5-2 junior point guard who produced over 100 steals and assists. Also back are 5-7 senior guard Lauren Balance (9.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg), 5-10 senior center Emma Vincent (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 69 blocks) and 6-foot senior for ward Madison Harrison (6.2 ppg, teambest 6.9 rpg). Others expected to contribute include 5-9 senior for ward Mia Goad (5.1 ppg), 5-5 junior guard Macy McCombs, 5-10 freshman center Lily Vincent and 5-9 sophomore guard Jae Simon. “We like to get up and down the court, but we’ll slow it up when we need to,” Weaver said. “We’ll mix up our defenses a lot.”

GRAYSON COUNTY

Ted Hill takes over for Josh Basham at Grayson County, where optimism has returned for the Lady Cougars, who went 11-16 in 2018-19. “The expectations are high,” Hill said. “With all the experience and

2019-20 SCHEDULE WHITESVILLE TRINITY

1/18 at Russellville

3

12/2 at Frederick Fraize

6

1/21 at Hopkins County Central

12/6 at Owensboro

6

1/24 Butler County

6

1/28 McLean County

7

1/31 at Grayson County

6

2/4

at Apollo

6

2/6

at Hancock County

12/7 University Heights

12:30

12/10 Edmonson County

5:30

12/13 at Butler County

6

12/14 at Todd County Central

5:30

12/17 at Breckinridge County

6

12/28 Warren Central

12

1/2

vs. Frederick Fraize (3rd Region All ‘A’

Tournament at Edmonson County) TBD

1/11 Hancock County

5:30

1/13 Breckinridge County

7

1/17 at Edmonson County

5:30

ever yone back we should turn in a solid campaign — this once-proud program is in full revival mode, and we are excited to get started.” Top returnees include senior for ward Laura Vincent (9.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 5-2 senior guard Kenzie Renfrow (12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and 5-10 junior for ward Rachael Snyder (10.1 ppg, 7 rpg). Others expected to make big impacts include 5-11 junior center Ella Robinson, 5-10 sophomore wing Raigan Cave and 5-4 freshman guard Annie Kiper. “Our veteran players have to buy in to the new system and culture,” Hill said. “Our defense in one-on-one situations has to get better, and we have spent a long time (working) on that.”

6:30

5:30

2/10 Frederick Fraize

6

2/11 Daviess County

6

2/14 Grayson County

6

2/15 Todd County Central

5:30

2/17 Owensboro

6

2/20 at Ohio County

6

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18 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

MUSTANGS

Also back are 6-2 junior wing Grant Tichenor (7 ppg, 4 rpg), 6-3 senior post presence Shane Frady (7 ppg, 3 rpg) and 6-3 senior forward Hunter Pharris FROM PAGE 11 (5 ppg, 3.5 rpg). OHIO COUNTY Hopper will also be counting on 5-8 Longtime coach Tony Hopper junior guard Jaxson Renfrow and 6-3 returns a solid club, led by 5-9 senior freshman forward Elijah Decker. Two point guard Trey Lewis (13.5 ppg), 5-9 more expected to contribute are 6-1 senior guard Tripp Manning (12.3 ppg, sophomore Parker Culbertson and 6-1 3 rpg) and 5-11 junior guard Q’Daryius senior Chris Whitler. Jennings, who averaged 15 points and The Eagles are focused on minimizeight rebounds for Grayson County last ing mistakes and relying on a deep season. bench and sharp shooting. “Trip is a gym rat who loves to play, “Turnovers were a huge problem and he has improved every facet of his for us last year, and we’re working hard game,” Hopper said. “He has become to correct some of that,” Hopper said. one of our best leaders, on and off the “Our depth will be a real plus for us, as floor. “Q is a great athlete and a team play- well as our ability to shoot the ball — we’re looking to compete for district er who will help us in many ways, and Trey was our leading scorer last year.” and regional championships.”

TEMPO

surgery, and 5-11 center Ally Maggard, a physical presence in the paint who came on strong at the FROM PAGE 10 end of last season. Sophomore guard production will be Camille Conkright, important to our success sophomore forward as a team.” Kinsley Goetz and Another senior is 5-8 freshman guard Katie forward Lily Moore, Riney will also vie for known primarily as a time on the court. soccer star, who has “We have a lot of returned to the hardwood players competing for after a two-year absence. playing time, and that’s And, 5-6 senior forward made our practices very Randschelle Johnson also competitive, which is a figures to be in the mix. good thing,” Robertson Two juniors are also said. “These girls are expected to be significant battling to be better contributors — 5-6 every day. guard Katherine Head, “We lost a ton of returning from back points, rebounds and

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blocked shots from last year’s team, and we’re a work in progress as far as putting together the team that is best-suited for success on the floor. We’re a work in progress with big shoes to fill, but I like our personnel, and I believe we have a chance to be very competitive.” And, as always, Robertson and Co. will be reaching for the stars. “Our goals and expectations remain the same,” Robertson said. “At Owensboro Catholic, our intention is always to compete for championships across the board.”

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FLAME

was always a dream. I knew the job was different and could be challenging even when I played here, so, I don’t know, maybe that prepared me for it a little FROM PAGE 2 better than some of the others who have come through.” “When Owensboro won state in ‘72, I Drake laughed. was riding in a car behind the firetruck in “I look up in our gym and to this day the victory parade going down Frederica. we still have 75- and 80-year-old fans “I mean, I got to see guys like Doc (Kenny Higgs) and Jerry Thruston, later in the stands, and it’s always been that way,” he said. “Well, I can take one look on (Apollo’s) Rex Chapman, and never at them and know exactly what they’re had to leave town — think about that.” Drake also knew where he ultimately expecting of us, and that’s to win. And not just win, but win big. wanted to land. “And that’s OK because I get it, I’m “I always had a burning desire to be the coach at Owensboro,” he said. “It just like them — a Red Devil for life.”

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Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

TRINITY FROM PAGE 16

year,” McClintic said, “so we hope to improve in all facets of the game.” Other key returnees include 6-2 senior for ward Mason Pierce (8.6 ppg), 5-9 senior guard Nick Clemmons (8.2 ppg) and 6-5 senior center Eli Booker (6.4 ppg, 4 rpg). Also in the mix for Edmonson are 6-foot senior guard Trent Taylor and 6-2 junior for ward Daniel Woosley.

BUTLER COUNTY

The Bears put together a solid 14-11

HORNETS FROM PAGE 15

first round of last season’s 12th District Tournament.

MEADE COUNTY

High-scoring 5-10 senior guard Kendall Wingler returns to the fold for the final time to lead the Lady Waves, who will be looking to

record last season but failed to get out of the 12th District Tournament, and veteran coach Calvin Dockery will be looking to change that this time around. Leading the charge will be 6-6 senior center Parker Rice, who averaged teamhighs of 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season. Also back are 6-4 sophomore forward Solomon Flener (6 ppg, 3.8 rpg), 6-1 junior forward Leevi McMillin (3.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg), 5-10 senior guard Macauley Hampton (2.9 ppg), 6-2 sophomore guard Jagger Henderson (2.4 ppg) and 6-2 junior swingman Hayden Hodge (2.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg). Last season, Butler County shot 44% from the field, including 36% from 3-point range, and made 65% of its free throws.

improve on last year’s 13-17 season. Wingler, who will play college basketball at Eastern Kentucky, was an All-3rd Region selection in 2018-19 after averaging 26 points per game and shooting 44% from 3-point point. She also averaged 7.9 rebounds per outing. A member of the Kentucky Junior All-Stars, Wingler has amassed 2,179 points. “We will be a team of much more experience

TURNAROUND

FROM PAGE 14

Now, it’s back to the basics for the Green Wave. “We will tr y to play a fundamental game of basketball,” Tripure said. “We will emphasize defense and rebounding.”

FREDERICK FRAIZE

The Aces endured a tough 1-28 season in 2018-19 — the lone victor y a 50-49 decision at Cannelton (Ind.). First-year Frederick Fraize coach Jason Hurst expects better numbers

and depth,” Meade County coach Dina Hackert said. “We will be quick and play various styles of defenses, but we will not be big. We have been able to develop some scoring pieces to complement Kendall’s strengths as an offensive weapon.” Wingler will get help from 5-10 junior guard Jenna Gallimore (7 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and 5-10 junior center D Griffen (5.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

this time around. “We are looking to change things up this year,” Hurst said. “We will play a lot of man-to-man (defense), and we will play at a faster tempo.” Top returnees include 6-2 senior for ward Xander Jennings (8.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg), 6-3 for ward Noah Pate (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and 5-9 junior guard Devon Farris (5.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg). Freshman expected to make an impact include 5-9 guard Conner Lagadinos and 5-8 guard Nathan Poole. “We’re looking for improvements in all aspects of the game,” Hurst said. “We’ll play at a faster pace because we can go 10 deep off the bench.”

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DAVIESS FROM PAGE 6

sophomore guard Druree Glenn, 5-6 freshman for ward Madison Spurrier, 5-4 freshman guard Carly Paige and 5-2 freshman guard Kaylee Blandford. The Lady Panthers will open the season without the ser vices of 5-7 senior guard Emma Anderson, who is recovering from functional movement disorder (FMD). “Emma is in recover y mode and is anxious to get back on the court with the team,” Kirkpatrick said. “She’s in a wheelchair right now at practice, and just having her around makes us a better team. She’s an inspiration to all who know her, and we’re really pulling hard for her to have a complete recover y.”

Basketball

19

Last season, Anderson averaged 7.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Kirkpatrick says moving the program in the right direction is vital this season. “Our goal is to be an improved basketball team in ever y way, and these girls are putting in the work it takes to make it happen,” Kirkpatrick said. “We just want to be trending the right way throughout the season, and I believe we have the personnel to get it done. “Other wise, we want to be competitive in the always-strong 9th District, we want to go .500 against the teams we play out in the 3rd Region, and we want to maintain the relentless, gritty mindset that we always want to be at the core of our program — always taking a great deal of pride in what we’re doing.”

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20 Basketball

Friday, November 22, 2019 Messenger-Inquirer

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