Finding himself with a wealth of talented post players, Grove Lady Red head coach Richard Bassett is on a mission to find his basketball team a point guard for 2010 to replace the graduated Peri Lane.
“We have to replace a great point guard,” Bassett said. “Peri Lane really developed over the past two years and she was kind of the leader for us. I’m having to find somebody to fill that role. The point guard has to be able to take pressure and run the offense.”
Junior Amanda Cook appears to be the front runner for that role, with Megan Freeman and Emily Cook expected to see time running the offense as well.
“[Cook] played a lot on J.V. last season, just not a lot of minutes on varsity,” Bassett said. "She’s finding out that varsity is a lot different, but she’s willing to learn and she’s a hard worker. It takes time. Hopefully her learning curve will be quick. How far we go will depend on how she develops because we’re solid in the post.”
Bassett has four players to fill that role, beginning with last year’s leading scorer, junior Katherine Johnson. Along with senior Shae Scott, sophomore Taylor Dodson and freshman Mason Jeffries, the post position should be the strongest and deepest position for the Lady Red this season.
“I’ve got four kids that I can intertwine and run in and out,” Bassett said. “I’ve got to find a good rotation. It’ll all come down to matchups and who we’re playing, but I’ve got a wealth of good kids.”
Providing versatility will be Kinsey Miller, who can play a variety of positions.
“She can play a three, four or a five,” Bassett said. “She’s really long and athletic.”
Among the Lady Red’s strengths this year will be overall depth, with as many as 10 players expected to see significant minutes during the season.
“We’ve got a good mix,” Bassett said. “Our senior leadership is going to be good with Kelsey Kerr and Katie Stout and Kaitlin Threet and Shae Scott and all those kids that have been here. I do have a lot of youth that’s going to come up and share minutes with them. But I don’t want to overdo it and water down what we’re doing. I’m going to try and get it down to eight or nine kids and keep good continuity on the floor.”
While Bassett remains optimistic about the upcoming season, the Lady Red will face numerous challenges in their attempt to reach the state tournament, beginning with Friday’s opener against Wagoner. The Lady Bulldogs have a new head coach in Shartese McHenry, who coached Class B Boynton-Moton to the state title last year and moved to Wagoner during the offseason after Boynton closed down.
Other challenges await, including a tough field at the Tahlequah Invitational as well as games against defending 4A state champs Vinita and Jay. Grove will also have plenty of challenges once the playoffs arrive.
“5A on the east side of the state is tough. You’ve got Booker T. Washington, Edison, McAlester. Coweta is always tough. Collinsville is young and getting better. But I’m kind of excited about this season.”