The London High School girls basketball team finds itself in the complete opposite scenario than its male counterparts at the school.
While the boys team losses just about everything off of its 2013-14 team, the Lady Red Raiders are scheduled to return nearly every key contributor from a squad that scratched and clawed its way to a 5-18 record this winter.
London’s overall record this season doesn’t begin to show how much progress the young team made throughout the season. The majority of the members of the squad are from the school’s sophomore class which means the future could hold much better results if everyone stays with it and continues to improve.
“We want to make sure this is not the end, but the beginning,” Lady Red Raiders coach Bob Williams said following his team’s season-ending loss to Centennial in the opening round of the D-II Central District tournament. “We’re young and hopefully our kids will work hard this spring and summer. We have some summer things planned with shootouts and such, prepping for next year. Hopefully everyone will come back and everyone will come back better.”
Williams, the eternal optimist, was even able to find positives in the lopsided 71-20 loss his team suffered to the Stars to end the season.
“A game like this shows us our shortcomings, but also shows us how good you can become,” he said. “We’re still a young team and hopefully the nucleus will return and we will just get better. This game will help us set our goals. We need to be able to play a full game of basketball. All 15 players played in the tournament game so that will help with experience.”
Next season’s success will likely hinge on how much the core group of players which include freshman guard Korren Cunningham, sophomore guard Mackenzie Minner, sophomore post Ally Roberston, sophomore forward Lindsay Freet, sophomore guard Megan Cox and junior Talia Frye come together and play as a unit.
“There are a lot of areas we need to get better,” Williams said. “It’s the whole game, being able to handle pressure better, being able to put pressure on and be able to change defense a little bit better during games.
“We’re excited about the nucleus we have coming back but there are things we do need to work on.”
The coach will have to say good-bye to a committed class of seniors who gave the program everything they had.
“They’ve been very dedicated,” Williams said. “We lose Aliyah Hiram who was coming off of that knee surgery. Jennifer Darling had been bothered with knee and ankle injuries all year long and Maliyah Frierson suffered through a rotator cuff problem.
Other players on the varsity roster include Katlyn Ray, Makayla Juergens, Haley Woods, Gabby McCoy, Kia Price, Brooke Kelly and Allisyn Carey.
“They showed a lot of maturity and were vocal leaders on the bench when they weren’t playing. They were always leading and encouraging in practice and were always willing to help the younger kids.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 18 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.