Lady Cougar basketball team is young and athletic

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The task of leading the Lady Cougars this basketball season will fall on seniors Kaitlyn Holcombe and Addie Elkins. Behind the two veterans, the team is made up mostly of freshmen and sophomores who will be asked to contribute to varsity for the first time.

“They’re good ball players, been around a long time,” head coach Mike Harrell said of his two seniors. “Addie is a post player and Kaitlyn can play post, but I’m trying to work her more at the number three spot so she’s getting away from the goal a little more.”

Elkins will serve as the team’s starting center this season and Harrell said that what she lacks in traditional center size, she makes up for in toughness.

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“She’s kind of a small number five, but she’s real real tough,” Harrell said. “She’d take on a 400-pound gorilla down in the paint and probably win.”

They have spent this offseason working to turn her into more of an offensive threat down low with help from assistant coach and former college basketball player LeAnn Inlow.

“Addie’s never looked to score and now I think she’s figuring out some things,” Harrell said. “If she’ll keep taking the shot and they start dropping for her, that’s going to be a real game changer for the team.”

Fellow senior Kaitlyn Holcombe has also had to work hard this offseason as she makes the transition from playing mostly in the post to spending more time on the wings as a small forward.

“I want her to take longer shots,” Harrell said. “Fifteen to eighteen foot shots and she’s never really been required to do that. Now, I expect her and need her to. There’s just a lot more real estate she’s having to hang out in.”

The team is also expecting major contributions from a host of athletic underclassmen including freshmen Kate McCray, Amelia Woodrum, Caroline Wells and Mikey Harrell.

“They look good,” coach Harrell said. “They’re young. They’re athletic. Probably the most athletic team I’ve ever coached… All four of those freshmen, they’ve got to get ready to play and score.”

The athleticism of the team and the diversity of skill sets will allow Harrell to adjust his lineups depending on the team that they are facing.

“I think the seniors, they’re perennial starters,” he said. “You can manufacture a starting line-up based on who you’re playing and having that kind of range, this is the first time I have had that. I can go big. I can quick. I can go scoring. I can go defense. I can do all kinds of stuff with such an athletic team.”

The Lady Cougars open the season on Thursday at Byne Christian in Albany.

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