Prep Hoops Preview: East girls loaded at every position
East Davidson head coach Don Corry has the luxury of returning all five starters from last season's 20-10 campaign. To his delight, the Lady Golden Eagles are even deeper, with eight legitimate players that could possibly start.
No wonder expectations are high for a program that last cut the nets down in 2008.
“We are just going to take it one game at a time,” said Corry. “We have some talent and they are all working hard. But there are a lot of good teams in our conference alone.”
Eagle fans got a taste of what the future could hold last year, watching a very young team grow up over the course of 30 games. In the end, the youthful bunch wound up with a Central Carolina Conference tournament title and a trip to the state regional semifinals.
East is not only deep overall, they have depth at every single position on the floor.
Lori Morgan enters her senior season as the leading candidate at point guard. She knows what Corry is looking for on offense and gets the ball where it needs to go.
Sharing time with her when not holding down the shooting guard spot is sophomore Madi Hallman. A ball of energy that can score in bunches, she is an outside threat and can handle pressure defenses.
A huge addition to the backcourt is Madi Beeson. A senior transfer from South Davidson, Beeson is quick and is an intelligent player on the floor. Miranda Cumpton and Jessica Ferguson add depth at the guard positions.
Experience runs deep on the wing for East. Senior Jennifer Welborn has seen steady improvement in her last three seasons with the team. She can shoot from outside or drive it in. Her mid-range game is very consistent. Corry expects a big season out of his veteran small forward.
“She is back with a vengeance from last year,” he said. “She has really stepped up her game and that lifts the club.”
Taylor Bell and Ariel Grimsley will also see time at the 3. Bell brings a tenacious effort and attitude to the team, while Grimsley is a sound defender that can hit the 3-ball.
Dealing with a solid group of guards is only half the battle for opposing teams. A deep frontcourt led by returning center Bayley Plummer is not only tall, but skilled. Plummer is 6-2 and is a double-double factory. Her height causes plenty of mismatches and she can clean up a lot of mistakes on defense with her ability to block shots. She will certainly be in the mix for player of the year in the CCC.
“What can you say about her? She is so dominant and her passing has gotten a lot better. She can now step away from the basket and as she improves, the whole team will improve.”
If teams try to double team Plummer, that will open up a lot of working room for 6-1 Jordan Isom. When she was out with an injury last season, it was apparent as to how important Isom is to the team. She gives them a big boost rebounding the ball and has gotten more physical in the paint.
Caitlyn Lookabill adds a different element to East post game. She is more of a shooter and can draw defenders away from the basket. Bailey Jones could provide some big minutes off the bench.
Corry is expecting an exciting year of basketball. Though his team most nights will be superior in the post, he feels the Eagles can thrive out in transition as well.
“The way our team is built right now we can do both,” said Corry. “Our guards are good enough to run with anybody and if it comes down to a halfcourt game we have the height inside. That's what is exciting about this team. We can play different styles and not hurt ourselves.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.