Now that basketball tryouts in Columbia County have ended, the next big task for area coaches is setting their starting lineups.
The 2006-07 season is only one week away, and at Evans High School, girls basketball coach Tim Whitfield is busy fixing the jigsaw puzzle that is the Lady Knights' roster.
"I'm looking at the guard and wing position. I've got a bunch of them, I just don't know where to put them yet," Whitfield said.
The Lady Knights began preseason workouts with the backcourt needing most of the attention. Rachel Hall, one of the top shooters on last season's squad, graduated, and starting point guard Janay Moore transferred to Greenbrier.
The losses left the Lady Knights without an experienced guard. Whitfield said junior Taylor Jones and seniors Tiphany Grimes and Brittany Brooker are the front-runners to start in the backcourt. Junior Tarah Henderson, known more for her success on the soccer field, moved up from the junior varsity squad this season and could also see time in the backcourt.
"She's an athlete. She was our best JV player last year. I just need to figure out where to put her on the court," Whitfield said.
Even with the loss of two starting guards, the news isn't all bad for Lady Knight fans. The size that helped Evans last season is back.
"We've got our post players, and that's something not everybody has," Whitfield said.
Seniors De'Nisha Lynch and Lauren Middleton return as two of the tallest players in the county. Newcomer Jessica Mitchem has at least an inch over Middleton.
Whitfield said he's made one more addition to the team that's already made a huge difference. Evans softball coach Colette Cassedy joined the team as an assistant coach this year.
"She's been a big help. I'm a more X's and O's person, and she's better with the conditioning," Whitfield said. "I can come in to practice, and I don't even have to worry about the varsity for the first 45 minutes. She does the conditioning with them, and I can work with the JV."
Whitfield said the conditioning is key to preparing for a regular season schedule that begins with games against Savannah High School and Greenbrier.
"Those are two tough games to start, but these girls want to compete, and that's what's good about them," Whitfield said.
Evans' season opener will be at home against Savannah on Saturday at 6 p.m.
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