Straughn girls start season tonight

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

Straughn senior Katie Lindsey (4) gets warmed up at practice Wednesday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn senior Katie Lindsey (4) gets warmed up at practice Wednesday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn girls basketball coach Scott Kinsaul said a “new team” will hit the court as the Lady Tigers begin another season tonight at the St. James Tip Tournament in Montgomery.

Kinsaul said because the team lost its leading scorer and rebounder in Brittany Driver, and two other seniors, the team will be searching for the girls to fill those roles.

“It’s a new year and a new team,” the coach said. “Our expectations are still the same — win the area, host the tournament, win the regional and go to Birmingham.”

The Lady Tigers did make it to the Class 3A state semifinals last season, but fell to Holly Pond, one game short of a championship shot.

Straughn will again be in Area 2 with rival Opp, as well as Excel and Southside Selma.

Kinsaul said one doesn’t really know anything when it comes to area play.

“There are quality teams in our area,” he said. “Obviously, Opp’s going to be good again. You don’t know about Southside, and then Excel I’m sure will be improved. We have a quality area, with quality teams and quality coaches.”

This season, the Lady Tigers will return three starters from last year in Katelyn Kinsaul, Jacie Williamson and Paige Taylor. Kinsaul will be the point guard, Williamson will be back in the four spot and Paige will play either the four or five spot, the coach said.

Kinsaul said that while he has three good starters returning, he’s looking for two more girls to form a complete starting five.

“Katie Lindsey’s going to have to step her game up,” he said. “We’ve got some sophomores who don’t have very much experience at the varsity level I’m going to have to count on this year. I’ve got another good senior in Audrey Driver — she’s very good — and I have very good quality people in Emily Wood and Janelle Nurse.”

Wood will be used in a more versatile role for SHS, while Driver and Nurse will be used in the two spot.

Kinsaul said defensively, the girls will have to be “sound and very smart.”

“We’ll be quick on the half court, but we have to know how to be a very sound team on defense,” he said. “We have to help each other out and go where everybody needs to be. We have to rebound, and block out real well.”

On offense, Kinsaul said he expects Williamson, Katelyn and Taylor to take up the scoring duties left by Driver.

“They can do it,” the coach said. “I’ve got quality players coming off the bench in Janelle and Audrey. I have complete confidence in anybody I put out there on the floor.”

The Lady Tigers will play St. James tonight at 5:30, and will play at 9 a.m. on Saturday no matter the result of their first game.