Prep Hoops Preview: Lady Panthers are young in 2013-14
Replacing a coach like John Ralls is not an easy task, especially when the team he left behind is full of inexperience at the varsity level. But first-year head man Chris Doby is making the most with what he has at Ledford.
After five games, the Lady Panthers sit 3-2, learning more about themselves with each passing game. With only four returning players with varsity experience, LHS will rely heavily on the upperclassmen to bring the younger talent along.
“We have four that have a lot of experience and seven that do not,” said Doby. “We are young and learning some things. There is plenty of room for us to improve.”
Ledford lost 74 percent of its offense from last season's 26-4 team that fell in the Western Regional semifinals. What they do have back is a pair of players that are capable of leading a team.
The top returner for Ledford is senior Courtney Callicutt. In previous years she has played as a combo guard, but with a lack of height this season she will spend time in the post. Last season she averaged 13 points per game.
“We need her to be a double-double player for us,” Doby said. “We have got to get her moving and into the offense from the get-go. She is the tallest one we have got.”
Mackenzie Cranford is back to run the point and she finally gets her chance to shine. Her play was limited due to others in the rotation, but now the junior has the keys to the offense. She may be one of the smaller players on the court each night, but she brings a lot of energy and can get to the basket.
The other two returning players are Julia Carroll and Allie Fischer. A 47 percent shooter, Carroll is a 3-point specialist that will draw a lot of attention with Emmalee Thomas now gone. Fischer will give help in the post. She boxes out well and does a lot of the little things that do not show up in the box score.
“When we get on the same page with those four we are going to be in good shape,” said Doby.
Doby brings up two really good players from the junior varsity team in Jordan Teer and daughter Alyssa Doby. Those two led the jayvee team in scoring and helped them to a 19-3 record. Teer is another that can shoot the rock and Doby does a nice job defensively.
Jesse Hayworth is a senior that will provide depth in the paint. She did not play as a junior but has returned to fill an important role.
Others on the team include Lindsay Jollie, Monnie Davis, Tally Gross and Victoria Hunt.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.