All of A-J girls’ starters to return for basketball season
Anna-Jonesboro Community High School girls’ basketball coach Matt Denny looks for the 2016-2017 team to continue its winning ways after a productive offseason.
“We had a really good summer,” Denny said.
A lot of Denny’s confidence comes from the return of all of the team’s starters from last year’s 12-18 team.
“We were there and so close last year,” Denny said. “We could have easily been 18-12.”
The top scorer from last year, 5-11 senior forward Elle Basler, returns to build a winning team around.
The rest of the starters returning are 5-6 senior guard Lexa Sharp; 5-11 junior center Connar Hadley; 5-5 junior guard Jasmin Foster and 5-10 sophomore forward Angel Helm.
The coach’s daughter, 5-6 junior guard Hunter Denny, also returns after a season-ending injury last year.
Other players in the mix are 5-6 senior forward Caitlin Sawyer; 5-7 junior guard Lexi Smith; 5-5 sophomore guard Julia Ellis; 5-6 sophomore guard Morgan Wendling; 5-8 sophomore guard Sydney Heath; 6-0 sophomore center Jaycee Woodward; and sophomore 4-10 guard Atarah Hart.
Denny said there are also three freshmen who could made contributions as well at the varsity level.
A lot has changed this season.
“We struggled last year making adjustments,” Denny said. “We’ve made a lot more emphasis on our defense and they understand when to fast break. Everybody knows where we are.”
Denny looks for the team to be competitive as well in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference Mississppi Division as well.
Denny looks for a competitive conference race, with Nashville, Carterville, Sparta and Du Quoin each coming into the season with competitive teams.
“I think we’ll turn it around this year,” Denny said. “I’m excited and nervous about the season.”
The Lady Wildcats open their season against Eldorado Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Harrisburg Tournament. The tournament runs through Saturday, Nov. 26.