Lady Cats Set Goals For Post-Season Championships
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
When evaluating the upcoming Lady Cat basketball season, one can see there was only one senior lost from last year. You have two of not only your top scorers returning, but also possibly two top scorers in the history of Lady Cat basketball. You have a veteran coach of more than 30 years with over 200 wins in not only basketball, but also softball, who was honored as Region Three Girls' Coach of the Year for 2017, and you're coming off a season that produced 23 wins, which were the most in school history.
With all that in your bag of tricks to get a new season started, the girls are struggling to make sure everyone is healthy before things kick off next Tuesday at Logan County. Four returning varsity players, including three starters are dealing with injuries, including Seniors Caitlin Simon, Skylar Lewis, and Katlin Collins, and sophomore Lauren Ballance.
Lewis hopes to return to regular action next week as she battles a kneecap injury from the summer that has now seemed to cause some quad muscle issues. Ballance is day-today with some lower back problems that she's dealt with for quite some time. Caitlin Simon is seeing a doctor today for some inflammation in her knee that could possibly be the remnant of a volleyball injury that didn't seem like much at the time. More will be determined after being evaluated today. Finally, Katlin Collins took a rough blow to the eye at yesterday's practice as she collided with freshman Emma Woodcock. Her eye was swollen shut before practice ended.
So...assuming that everyone can get healthy as the season begins, let's take a look at what else the Lady Cats are looking for as we begin the season.
"We're hoping to get through these injuries now and move on as we get things rolling next week," said Head Coach Kevin Jackson. "As they say, 'next man up.' These injuries are causing some of our younger players to step up and dig in. We've got some sophomores that are stepping up and they've already got some good experience."
Although they're only sophomores, Emma Rose Vincent and Madison Harrison have been around a while, first coming over to the Lady Cats as 8th graders. Edmonson County will rely on each of their 5'11" frames down in the post.
Most everyone knows that the bulk of the scoring is expected to come from both Simon and returning guard Peyton Martin. "I can't say enough about those two kids. They bring it night after night, they lead, and they're great on and off the court. We're looking for a big year out of both of them."
Senior starting guard Abby Alexander returns along with junior guard Chanley Logsdon, who also saw plenty of varsity time last season. There are five new freshmen on this year's roster as well.
Jackson said in 32 years of coaching, this could possibly be the deepest and most talented roster he's seen. Both Simon and Martin have surpassed 1000 career points and Simon is expected to reach the 2000 mark this season.
"We're two players deep at every position and we have some role players that can even play three different spots. Last year we had Collins playing in the post, but she can also play the four spot, even the three. You know, we're really not focused on a starting five right now. It's not who starts, it's who finishes. We've got kids that are willing to fill their roles."
Just like the boys team, Jackson said the five starters are likely to change from one game to another.
"It's about who matches up the best. We may need to rely on one player against a certain team but that might be something completely different on the next game."
With the injuries, Jackson said having to move kids around has made it more difficult to be fluid as a team, but being aggressive and going hard in practice is something he's hoping that will pay off towards the end of the season.
"Last year didn't end like we'd hoped. We folded up a time or two because maybe we hadn't been tested enough. We've already been through two very tough scrimmages against South Warren and Louisville Mercy. Our kids were thrown to the wolves and I saw a big improvement from the first to the second scrimmage. We have a tough schedule and we're not out to dodge anybody."
Jackson said he feels like the Lady Cats have a legitimate shot not only to win the district title, but also to take a serious run at the region. The Lady Cats have not won a district championship since the 1998 season, also coached by Jackson.
"Two players won't win it for us," he said. "We've got to have five to seven players who can contribute every night and I think we'll be able to go ten or eleven players deep. We'll need leadership but we'll also need our underclassmen, and I think you're going to see that."
The Lady Cats will begin their season on the road Tuesday night, November 28 at Logan County in a girl/boy match beginning at 6pm. The WildcatsLive crew will bring you the action on the Edmonson Voice beginning at 5:45pm.