Experienced juniors will lead Lady Cats
Published 11:21 pm Friday, November 11, 2016
By Brandon O’Connor
The Bainbridge High School girl’s basketball team enters the 2016-17 with an experienced starting line-up, but a lack of veteran players to contribute off the bench. Three starters return from last season’s team, but the Lady Cats will be young overall with a roster that features no seniors.
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Junior Nadia Marshall will again lead the team after being named second team All-State as a sophomore. Head coach Kelvin Cochran said that Marshall will have to step into an even larger role this season due to the team’s lack of depth.
“Her role still, she is going to have to step her game up,” Cochran said. “Even what she brought to the table last year isn’t going to be good enough. She’s got to really step up and she has been trying to.”
Fellow juniors Kiarra King and Tytianna Roseborough will also return to the starting line-up and Cochran is looking for each of them to have an increased impact on both sides of the ball.
“Kiarra King, she played on the wing for me as a sophomore, she’s moving over to the point guard,” Cochran said. “It’s going to be big for her to handle the ball and run the team.”
“Tytianna Roseborough, she’s going to start at shooting guard. She’s going to have to step her game up. She was the second leading scorer, but she’s going to have to step her scoring up even more because as a team we don’t have the weapons we had last year.”
Tyra Smart, who was a key contributor off the bench as a sophomore last season, will join them in the starting line-up. Overall, the four juniors will have to step into a leadership role for a team that is very young behind them.
“With three starters back, really they’re going to be seniors for two years in a row,” Cochran said. “In the past I had experienced depth. You can start young girls, but you have seniors coming off the bench who have been in the program and the weight room for four years and that know the system and know what to expect, but now I’ve got babies doing that.”
Cochran said that the key to the season will be building mental toughness among the younger players as they adjust to the rigors of playing at the varsity level. Even with a young roster, his expectations have not changed.
“Being young is no excuse from what we did the last couple years,” he said. “The girls before them set the foundation and it’s up to them to live up to the expectations that they’ve been left behind.”
The Lady Cats will travel to Early County for a preseason scrimmage on Thursday before opening the regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 22, with a home game against Monroe.