NEW MADISON – The Tri-Village Lady Patriots 2017-2018 team will have two returning starters for the very successful basketball program.
“We’re really young but I think our young talent has a chance to blossom,” said veteran Tri-Village Coach Brad Gray. “I think early on we are going to go through some growing pains just trying to figure out how to adjust to the varsity style of play. A lot of these players were JV players last year but they were on a JV team that only lost one or two games.”
Due to graduation, the Lady Patriots open the season without the services of three four-year letter winners from the previous season.
“We lost Allie (Downing) and Danika (Mann),” noted Gray. “Both are playing at the college level now. We also lost Rachael Miller who was a three year starter at the point for us. Three, three-year starters – all three of them are four year letter winners so we have a lot to replace.”
Coach Gray will be looking to a strong sophomore class to lead the Lady Patriots on the court in the upcoming basketball season.
“The talent is good,” Gray said. “We are probably going to be starting four sophomores and a junior.”
“We have two returning starters in Trisa Porter and Emma Printz,” continued Gray. “Emma is a junior, has been a varsity player since her freshman year and started last year as a sophomore. Trisa is a sophomore who started last year as a freshman for us, so both of the girls have played in a lot of big games even though they are both still young.”
“Our other kids that are probably going to start are Lissa Siler, Andi Bietry and Maddie Downing,” shared Gray. “We have some kids off the bench; Loren Flory a senior, Autaum Moore a senior who has been a two year varsity kid, Madison Foreman (sophomore) and Peyton Bietry (junior) and we have a senior, Kayla Burke. That rounds out our varsity lineup.”
The Tri-Village girls may not have the size as most teams in the past, but with a quick four guard lineup, good shooters including three point shooting ability, Coach Gray believes the team will hold their own on the court.
“We are really athletic,” Gray said. “Our size is not the best. This is one of the shorter teams I have had. Rebounding was one of my main concerns coming into the year and right now that looks like an area we seem to be holding our own.”
“We are kind of a four guard lineup, so we have four kids all on the floor at one time that can all shoot the ball a little bit. We have three kids that we are trying to get the ball in their hands who are shooters.”
“I like our ability to shoot from the perimeter,” continued Gray. “We don’t want to rely on the three-ball all the time, but that is something that we feel like we can go to if teams are going to zone us. We feel like we can mix in some outside shots.”
With games often won or lost at the free throw line, Coach Gray looks for early improvement at the charity stripe.
“Our free throw shooting has to improve a little bit,” said Gray. “We struggled here in the preseason shooting free throws. That is an area we have to get better but I think as the season goes on we get better and better.”
Coach Gray believes athleticism will be the team’s strength in the new season’
“Young but kind of experienced,” said Gray. “Those are our biggest strengths right now. We run the floor really well because of our athleticism.”
“Our depth seems to be pretty good,” Gray added. “Normally I don’t feel comfortable going beyond six kids, sometimes I’ll play that seventh kid a little bit but this year I really feel like nine, ten kids can get some minutes for us even in games that are tight down the stretch. We’ll see how that plays out. I feel pretty confident in the kids that we have.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Tri-Village Lady Patriots veteran basketball coach. (Gaylen Blosser)