New Blazers coach looking to change culture in girls program


By Eddie Mowen Jr. - emowen@aimmediamidwest.com



National Trail junior Makena Laird will be relied on to help the Blazers improve on a 6-16 record from a year ago.

National Trail junior Makena Laird will be relied on to help the Blazers improve on a 6-16 record from a year ago.


R-H File photos

National Trail senior Savanna Abner is back for her fourth year as a starter for the Blazers.


R-H File photos

NEW PARIS — As James Byrd enters his first-year as the National Trail girls’ basketball coach he just wants his players to improve and enjoy the game.

Byrd will be the third coach in three years for the Blazers, who went 6-16 (2-10 Cross County Conference) last season.

Trail returns a pair of three-year starters in seniors Savanna Abner and Evan Byrd and a pair of two-year starters in senior Bobbi Grimes and junior Makena Laird.

Other key players returning from a team which lost in the first round of the sectional tournament include, junior Kelsey Patrum, junior Davlyn Warner and sophomore Molly Skinner.

Freshmen Skyler Ward and J’Da Jackson will add depth to the roster.

Rounding out the Blazers roster are sophomore Angel Bowers, sophomore Lauren Sargeant, and sophomore Caitlin Gilland.

“We would like to show improvement from last year and come together as a team to create the culture that I would like to build moving forward. I want these girls to enjoy the game of basketball again,” Coach Byrd said.

James Byrd said he hopes his team will be able to challenge for a league title, but realizes the CCC is full of talent.

“The league is deep this year with quality opponents across the league,” he said. “We would like to be considered one of the top teams by the end of the year but it is going to take a lot of hard work because the top of the league is strong.”

The Blazers will open the 2018-19 season with a home game against Dixie on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

They will then visit CCC power Miami East on Thursday, Nov. 29 and will close out the first week of the season by hosting Northeastern (Ind.) on Saturday, Dec. 1.

National Trail junior Makena Laird will be relied on to help the Blazers improve on a 6-16 record from a year ago.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2018/11/web1_NT-GIRLS-2.jpgNational Trail junior Makena Laird will be relied on to help the Blazers improve on a 6-16 record from a year ago. R-H File photos

National Trail senior Savanna Abner is back for her fourth year as a starter for the Blazers.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2018/11/web1_NT-GIRLS-4.jpgNational Trail senior Savanna Abner is back for her fourth year as a starter for the Blazers. R-H File photos

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

emowen@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH