Lady Tigers aim for better 2012-13 season

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 15, 2012

Straughn sophomore guard Katelyn Kinsaul drives to the hoop at practice Wednesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

A year older, a year better.

The Straughn Lady Tigers are looking to build last year’s experience to have a successful season.

SHS already got its season under way with a 2-1 performance at the St. James Tip Off tournament last weekend in Montgomery. After falling to STJ in their first game, the Lady Tigers bounced back and won two straight on Saturday to finish in fifth place.

With his team back in a normal practice routine on Wednesday, SHS coach Scott Kinsaul said it’s “hard to tell” what his team will look like this year.

“I think we’ve got a chance to be good if everything falls right for us,” Kinsaul said. “Certainly, there’s a lot of talent and athletic ability on this team. These girls love to play basketball and enjoy being with each other.”

Talent and athletic ability for SHS starts with its seniors — Brittany Driver, Mariah Bonham and Taylor Wood. Katie Lindsey and Audrey Driver are juniors; and sophomores Katelyn Kinsaul, Jacie Williamson, Paige Taylor, Janelle Nurse and Emily Wood round out the varsity squad.

Eight freshmen, who play on the junior varsity squad, will have an opportunity to gain varsity experience once their season ends, Kinsaul said.

Straughn will compete in an athletic Class 3A, Area 2 with Opp, Southside Selma and Excel.

“It’s going to be a fun area to play in,” Kinsaul said.

Last year, the then Class 4A Lady Tigers were poised to make a deep run in the post season. SHS finished runner up to Andalusia, but fell 51-50 in a heartbreaker to Brewbaker Tech in the sub-region.

Losing 51-50 is a driving force for the team, Driver said.

“When it was hard and in the summer when we’re working out (we thought about 51-50),” Driver said. “We’ve had some really hard practices this year, but 51-50 really reminded us to work harder.”

Moving into the leadership role, SHS’s seniors said they learned a lot from the seniors they played under in past years.

“I think back to when I was younger, and I was looking up to the seniors then,” Wood said. “I remember how much they helped me to listen, and they were there when I needed help.”

Like all basketball teams, Straughn’s goal is to win its way to the Final Four in Birmingham.

“I definitely think we have a chance if we set our minds to it,” Driver said.

Bonham agreed.

“If we do what we’re supposed to do,” she said.

Kinsaul said the St. James tournament did the girls “a lot of good.”

“They want to win,” he said. “They believe they can win. Our schedule is a little bit tougher this year.

“They’re ready to play some good competition,” he said. “They think they can win every ball game.”

The Lady Tigers will be able to get the ball rolling in their annual Thanksgiving tournament Monday through Wednesday at SHS.

On Monday, Pleasant Home plays Straughn’s ninth grade team at 3:30 p.m.; Houston Academy plays Luverne at 5 p.m.; Brantley plays Elba at 6:30 p.m.; and Straughn’s varsity plays Red Level at 8 p.m.

Each team is guaranteed three games.