|11/15/2012 9:15:00 AM ||Email this article Print this article |
|Girls basketball preview|
Lady Salukis hopeful of winning the war
BRIDGEPORT - Red Hill High School girls basketball coach Traci Gray won't mind her team losing a few battles along the way if they can win the war at the end of the season.
All five starters return for a team that posted a 17-5 mark last season, but with the addition of three bigger schools to the Little Illini Conference, the Lady Salukis face a much more difficult schedule. The only teams who aren't members of the Little Illini Conference the Lady Salukis will face this season are Louisville-North Clay a week from today, Fairfield on Dec. 17, and possibly two opponents in the RHHS Invitational on Dec. 27 and 28.
"For me, it doesn't come down to how many games you win as a whole," said Gray, entering her ninth season at the helm. "More importantly, it's how many you win in the post-season. In the end, I think scheduling bigger schools is going to help us. Facing that stiff competition will make us better for post-season."
Recently the Lady Salukis have had successful post-season runs. Red Hill won four straight Class A regional titles from 2007 through 2011, before getting knocked out by host Louisville-North Clay in last year's regional title game.
A trio of seniors - all contributing members on three teams that won regional titles - return to the starting lineup.
"They're hungry," Gray said of 5-7 Dakotah Moan and 5-6 twin sisters Taylor and Tori Paulin. "And I love to watch them play. It's their last year, and when you get to that point it's really all or nothing. They'll do everything in their power to make us successful."
Taylor Paulin topped the Lady Salukis last season with a 13.7 scoring average, with a high of 23. Moan averaged nine points a game, and Tori Paulin eight.
The other returning starters are 5-6 junior Heather Perry (4.0 ppg) and 5-5 sophomore Maran Tennis (3.4 ppg). Junior Taylor Heath, 5-6, is also back after seeing in action in 19 games a year ago.
"We'll stick with that group," Gray said. "We have some younger kids who we think can play, and we'll try to use them for a few minutes at a time."
Baelee Holloway, a 5-3 sophomore, is a good defender and figures to land a role. So does her classmate, 5-5 Morgan Inyart, a good rebounder and defender.
Freshman Jamesha Western, 5-11, and Alexis Thacker, 5-10, will give the team some height, while 5-5 Cheyenne Moan may serve as a backup ball-handler. Other freshmen on the roster are 5-6 Macee Weiss, a hard-worker according to Gray, and 5-5 Leah Ramsaran, who is currently slowed with a knee injury.
"Right now they're all working hard and doing everything we ask of them," Gray said. "We're trying to tear them down and build them up, and that starts at the defensive end."
The Lady Salukis open their season tonight with a home game against rival Lawrenceville. The teams will meet again Jan. 7 at Lawrenceville, in a Little Illini Conference game.
Nov. 15 LAWRENCEVILLE, 6:15
Nov. 19 Louisville-North Clay, 6:15
Nov. 26 OLNEY*, 6:16
Nov. 29 Cumberland*
Dec. 3 FLORA*, 6:15
Dec. 6 Marshall*, 6:15
Dec. 10 EDWARDS COUNTY*, 6:15
Dec. 13 Newton*, 6:15
Dec. 27 RHHS TOURNEY
Dec. 28 RHHS TOURNEY
Jan. 3 PALESTINE*, 6:15
Jan. 7 Lawrenceville*, 6:15
Jan. 9-17 LIC Tourney
Jan. 21 Robinson*, 6:15
Jan. 24 Oblong*, 6:15
Jan. 31 CASEY*, 6:15
HOME GAMES IN CAPS
* - LIC game