November 23, 2006

Young Lady Tigers Looking Forward To Chance To Shine

Rarely does one see a basketball coach excited about heading into a season after graduating four of a team’s five starters. Despite seeing her team lose 75-percent of its scoring from a successful 17-10 campaign in 2005-06, Coach Kelli Swearingen can’t help but be excited to see this year’s version of the Lady Tigers in action.

“Those four seniors had been starting for several years, so these younger girls are finally going to get a chance to show what they can do,” she said. “They had sort of been in the shadows of the older girls and now they will have an opportunity to shine.”

Swearingen has a solid cast of underclassmen that will get every opportunity to do just that as they must replace three fourths of last year’s scoring output.

For the first time in eight season’s someone other than a Fromm will lead the team in scoring. Ali Fromm took her 16.3 points a game on to the collegiate level to follow in the footsteps of big sister Meagan Fromm. One of the siblings had been the leading scorer for the Lady Tigers in each of the past seven years.

“It is going to be different this year,” Swearingen said. “But I think we look at it as an opportunity for someone to step into those shoes and show what they can do.”

The team will also have to replace the interior game of forward Angie Bulen who averaged 8.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Also gone is point guard Ashlee Frederick and guard Jamie Fuller who combined for more than 13 points a game.

The lone returning starter is forward Jessica Bair. The junior averaged 3.0 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. Fellow junior Kirsten Johnston is the team’s leading returning scorer. She averaged 6.7 points per game last year as she brought her instant offense off the bench.

The team’s lone senior with varsity experience, Trisha Harvey will get a shot to fill one of the vacated starting roles after seeing action at the guard and forward spots last year.

Other varsity letter winners returning to this year’s squad include junior forwards Kaela Cook and Amanda Bogatzke who will likely split time in the post positions with Bair and sophomores Valerie Oldham, and Kaitlin Caldwell. Sophomores Melissa Cotton, Deidra Dochterman and Betsey Kittle will figure prominently into the guard rotation this season along with Johnston and seniors Ciera Turner and Laura Duley.

Sophomore Cheyenne Ward will fill a swing role playing both guard and forward, something that Bair may have to do also.

“Normally we have been thin on post players, but this year we have plenty of depth inside, but are short on guards so Ward and Bair both have been working on both positions in practice,” Swearingen stated.

As has been the case in recent history, Clark County likely will be the team to beat in the Tri-Rivers Conference. The Lady Indians return league co-MVP Courtney Shuman to lead a talented cast for the reigning champions.

Schuyler County will look to move up in the standings as the Lady Rams return a talented cast of players led by first team all-conference player Tahnee Poe. Putnam County is in a similar position, bringing back plenty of players that have a year under their belts after a rebuilding season in 2005-06 led by Brittany Casady and Katie Steele.

Milan, Brookfield and North Shelby all will be in similar positions with Scotland County as they try to replace top players from last year’s squads as they work to try to unseat the Lady Indians from atop the Tri-Rivers Conference standings.

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