November 18, 2010

Lady Tigers Return Entire Roster for Promising 2010-11 Hoops Season

Returning the entire roster from last year's 16-10 team has Coach Jaryt Hunziker hoping for great things from the 2010-11 version of the Scotland County Lady Tigers.

"Our girls know what they have to do to be successful this year," Hunziker said. "Up on our board, we have three things we have to do, night in and night out - rebound, defend and value the ball. We do that and we should be in every game."

SCR-I will have an experienced squad led by four senior starters. Ashley Tague led the Lady Tigers in scoring, averaging 11.6 points a game. She was also second on the team with 5 rebounds a game. Despite playing the four position most of the year, Tague finished with team highs in assists and steals.

Her passing ability and the further development of a quality mid-ranged jump shot has landed Tague at a new position in 2010. She'll be playing point guard on offense.

"At 5'9", Ashley sees the floor so well, we just felt like this move makes us a better team," Hunziker said.

Anna Duley averaged 4.6 points and was one of the team's defensive stoppers, making 3.3 steals per contest. The senior will be moving from the perimeter into the starting role at the four spot.

"She posts up really well for her size, and she plays really long so she should have no trouble making the transition." Hunziker said. "She listens when I tell her to get in there and get physical and post up, and she really works hard."

The team's leading threat in the paint remains Jamie Shaw. The senior center was tops on the squad, grabbing 7.4 boards a game while scoring at a 11.3 points per game clip.

Skyler Alderton was the team's top perimeter threat, making a team-high 46 three pointers last year. She averaged 7.3 points a game, while hitting 33% from behind the arc.

"Skyler had a breakout year as a junior," Hunziker said. "Early in the year we were relying on getting the ball inside to Jamie and Ashley. Now I think opponents will be seeing a lot more scoring threats."

Rounding out the staring five was point guard Cali Holt. She averaged 4.7 points a game last season as a sophomore. Hunziker expects the move to off guard will free up the youngest member of the starting five to focus more on scoring. Her first priority however will remain defense, where her coach pushes her to be a ball hawk, constantly pressuring the opposing ball handlers and creating turnovers.

Backing up the experience staring five is a solid cast of reserves led by seniors Aimee Dale and Catie Shalley and juniors Kiley Frazier and Courtney Jackson.

Dale, Frazier and Jackson all saw significant time in last season's rotation. Dale scored 3.5 points a game and averaged over three rebounds but she missed most of the summer recovering from off- season shoulder surgery. That could create an opening for sophomore Megan Creek to play a key role as the backup post player. Frazier and Jackson both play the guard positions as does Shalley.

"The bulk of these girls have been in the system now for three years, so it has been very nice in practice to be focusing on adding things, instead of having to start from scratch and teaching them the basics of our system," Hunziker said.

That experience grew exponentially this summer, as the team carried a heavy workload through the off season. The Lady Tigers participated in leagues at Quincy University and John Wood Community College as well as the NEMO Shootout at Schuyler County. The busy "vacation" was capped off by a four-day trip to Denver, CO.

"In all my years coaching boys and girls, this has been the most competitive schedule I've experienced," Hunziker said.

SCR-I saw some of the best teams Illinois had to offer in the two Quincy events. The Lady Tigers took on several 4A and 5A schools in the Colorado camp, which featured teams from 16 states. Hunziker said one of the best games SCR-I played came against the defending state champions from New Mexico, who had claimed the title two of the last three years.

While the program is senior laden in 2010, the junior varsity program has a lot of size, which not only bodes well for the future, but also will help push the current varsity squad as Hunziker said practices have been very spirited.

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