Lion pair plan 14A repeat run
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
With both teams being District 13A champions a year ago, Dresden High School’s basketball teams will be the hunted in the 2012-13 season.
This year, the district appears to be wide open for the girls and boys after both teams lost some valuable players from last season, but both Dresden coaches see it as challenge and think their kids are up to it.
The Lady Lions will be putting a young team on the basketball court this season with no seniors on the team. But coming off a 22-7 season and making it to the quarterfinals in the Region 7A tournament, the Lady Lions are not totally without experience.
Dresden does return four players from last season and they will be joined by eight freshmen, which make the Lady Lions an extremely young team this season.
Dresden has three juniors who will have to provide the leadership for the younger players this season. Guard Amy McAlpin and forwards Amanda Wecker and Ashlee Garner will be counted on as the team leaders.
McAlpin is one of the four returning players who have started for West in the past. Garner came off the bench during games last season to earn some valuable playing time. Wecker did not get much playing time last season, but being a junior post player this season should earn her more playing time.
Sophomore point guard Carrie Hatchel is another returning starter. She was put in that role at the beginning of last season while senior Alex Glisson recovered from a knee injury. Hatchel played so well at guiding the offense that she kept her starting spot during the season.
Hatchel is one of those players who is very athletic, can drive to the basket off the dribble and can sit back and hit the three-point shot. Her role as point guard will be to move the ball around on offense, find the open player and keep her counterpart from doing the same on the other end of the floor.
“We knew she had the ability and might have started anyway, but more was thrown to her because of Alex’s injury,” West said. “But, if we are going to start with two players, then she and Amy are two really good players to have.”
Making a decision on whom else to start from the younger players may be difficult for West. He believes all of his younger players have different aspects to their game that could be of great value and enable a number of them to start.
“Our young girls, all eight of them, do different things well,” West said. “At this point there is not a whole lot of separation. They have all done different things well.
Hailey Browning, Claire McAlpin, Jacqueline Ellis, Alexis Osteen and Carly Greer are all freshmen guards. Jessica Davis and Kayla Hayes are freshmen forwards and freshman Alex Dunn is a center.
On the boys’ side, Dresden will have to do some maneuvering to make up for some big-time offense that was lost to graduation last year.
The defending district champs will have to find a way to make up the 28 points per game Tyler McPeak and Joseph Sipes combined to score last season. The Lions will also have to make up the loss of Gatlin Hatchel and his 6.5 assists per game.
First things first for the Lions as they must find a way to compete with only five players until the football team’s season is over. Head coach Tommy Dilday does not mind the inconvenience.
“It has been interesting practicing,” Dilday said. “Sometimes we practice with the girls just so we have enough to practice against. We cannot even do passing drills. It has been kind of tough.”
Dilday had this problem last season with so many of his players still playing football well into the season. Once he got a full squad on the floor, his team took off and finished with a 23-8 record and had a 14-game winning streak at point of the season.
The Lions were 0-4 last season before the football player returned. Once they all got back to basketball, the team went 23-4.
Right now, the only players who are practicing are senior guard Austin Maxey, junior forward Brock Dilday, junior guards Caleb Davidson and Kaleb Houston and sophomore guard Austin Gordon.
West will have Maxey, Daniel Bowers and Devin Raymer back as his only seniors. Joining them will be juniors Davidson, Houston, Dilday Austin Daniel and Joey Caldwell.
Kourtney Sawer, Tyler Hutcherson, Dillon Jolley and Gordon are the sophomores. Alex Warren is the only freshman on the team.
“We are young, and we are going to be playing a lot of juniors, some sophomores and maybe our only freshman,” Dilday said. “But we are going to be big. Austin Maxey will be counted on a lot to lead. Austin has been here all four years, and we expect him to lead this group.”
Dilday is also counting on Raymer for senior leadership along with Bowers.
Dilday will have take things in stride until the football season is complete. He is hopeful that will be a while and that the football can make another return trip to Cookville.
“We are looking forward to the season and, hopefully, it will be a few weeks before we get all of our players back,” Dilday said. “I want them to make another good run in football.” Published in The WCP 11.15.12