WEST ALEXANDRIA — Get better each day.
That’s one of the goals Lindsey Cole has set for her Twin Valley South girls basketball team for the 2019-20 season.
The Panthers return four starters from a team that went 7-16 (2-10 CCC) last season.
Cole, now in her second season, is also looking for her team to improve on its win total as well.
“We have a goal to be in double-digits in wins this year. That was kind of our goal in the back of our mind last year. This year, it’s just about, we have to make ourselves better,” Cole said. “ I feel like the start of this season and the start of last season feel very similar. This year, we have to do the things that we need to do to get better each game. Last year, we just stayed complacent. This year, I need us to really continue to step up each and every time on the floor.”
Back to help lead the way are seniors Taylor Bowers and Lexi Bennett and juniors Taylor Clark and Mackenzie Neal.
Bowers is the floor leader.
“She is our vocal leader on and off the floor. She keeps everybody together. She tied for our leading scorer last season. She just really penetrates the defense and opens a lot of things up on offense,” Cole said of Bowers.
Neal will provide the team with an inside presence.
“She is another key returning starter. She led us in scoring and rebounding last year. We’re definitely looking for her to have a big year. She almost averaged a double-double last year,” Cole said of Neal. “I look for her to get to those numbers this year and do what she does down low.”
Bennett’s not flashy but will be relied on to do the little things.
“She led us in assists and steals last year. She’s not going to put up big numbers in the scoring column, but she does a lot of other things and she’s definitely a defensive leader for us.
Clark has shown improvement and is coming into her own.
“Last year coming in she had not played varsity and she started all last year. I really look for her to help us out a lot this year. She’s great in all aspects of her game,” Cole said. “She’s worked hard and put in a lot of time and I think she will surprise some people this year.”
Other key returners are sophomores Makiah Newport, senior Alyssa Clark, junior Maycie Davidson.
Newport will handle some of the point guard duties.
“She handled the ball a lot for us. I definitely look for her to help us handle the ball a lot this year. She’s just a pure natural athlete that can do some good stuff for us again this year,” Cole said of Newport.
Alyssa Clark missed most of the last season due to an injury.
“We lost her seven games in last year to an ankle injury so she doesn’t have a ton of varsity experience. But yet, we’re definitely going to use her down low. We’ve got to have her being physical, getting rebounds, playing good tough defense down in the low post,” Cole said
Davidson saw limited time on the varsity last season.
“She played a handful of varsity last year as a swing player. She’s got a nice shot and she can handle the ball. We just have to build up some varsity confidence with her,” Cole said.
New to the varsity team this year is senior Hannah Russell.
“She’s got basketball experience just not on the varsity court.”
Cole said low numbers in the program will keep a couple of sophomores on the junior varsity team just to field a team.
Cole said she expects Tri-Village to be the favorite in the Cross County Conference this season.
“The league is tough again this year. I think Tri-Village is probably the top dog again,” she said. “Franklin-Monroe should be good. Bradford should be good. Arcanum should be solid. Last year, we only won two league games. There were a few close ones that we lost and I definitely look to flip those this year.”
She noted the low numbers in the program is one of its weaknesses.
“Our core is sophomore and juniors. We have very a strong sophomore class and a strong junior class. We’ve got some sophomores that are having to play JV that aren’t going to get the varsity minutes that they could potentially deserve<’ she said. “But, the good news is that we do have a JV team and we’re getting these girls a lot of playing time and next year as juniors they should be ready to role for varsity.
Cole said she expect fans to see a hard-working group.
“I hope that fans see girls that are putting in time, putting in a lot of work, putting their head down and working hard. We may not be the most talented and skilled team, but I hope we’re the hard-working team,” she said. “I hope we can definitely improve. That’s the goal, to constantly get better.”
South opened the season at Tri-County North on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 at the CCC/SWBL Tip-Off Classic. The Panthers fell to Carlisle 68-34 on Friday and lost to Northridge, 33-30, on Saturday.
South was scheduled to host Bethel on Tuesday, Nov. 26 and will travel to Dayton Christian on Monday, Dec. 2.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or follow on Twitter @emowen_RH