Looking to improve last season's record, Paden City Girls' Basketball Head Coach Kelly Sine is ready for another go-around and will be able to build a program with numbers.
There are 16 girls out for the varsity team and 26 for the junior high program. With the addition of Rick Loy and Chris Neff as the junior high coaches, things are looking up in Wildcat territory and the ladies are gearing up for a competitive 2012-13 season. Sine states that he and his team are looking forward to the challenges that this year is sure to bring. "When I talk about a program, I mean from top to bottom and that starts with the middle school program," Sine said. "I have two quality coaches in Loy and Neff running the show down there. They are basically running the same type of offense we do here."
Paden City lost its top scorer, rebounder and steal leader Dominique Craft, and the team's best shot blocker, Amanda Heasley, to graduation last year. Returning to the line-up this season are seniors Lynah Stanley (5'9"); Lynnsie Parsons (5'3"); Logan Cosper (5'3"); and first-year player Kelsey Loy (5'6"). In addition, there will be junior Myah "Shark" Charkawi (5'2"); sophomores Sadie Helmic (5'4"); Hannah Stanley (5'3"); Kayla Barker (5'); Kayla Hizer (5'4"); and exchange student Jedpreeya Khunisorn (5'3").
Freshmen out include Chelsea Dennis (5'4"); Dezirae Middleton (5'6"); Darien Ritchie (5'4"); Cydney Blatt (5'7"); and Taylor Cosper (5'3").
Lynah Stanley and Blatt look to play the post position, while Loy and Helmic will come off the bench. Charkawi, Hizer, Parsons, and Hannah Stanley will see considerable time at forward. It looks like Taylor Cosper will take the point, while elder sister Logan will be a shooting guard, but will fill in at point, as will Barker.
With the younger Cosper at point, Sine can move Logan in as shooting guard where she can drop in shots from beyond the arch. She led the team - and most of the state in Class-A - last season with 30 made baskets from long range.
"Logan and Charkawi are a coach's dream," Sine mused. "They both understand the game and it's like having a pair of coaches on the floor. They both can handle the rock, penetrate, shoot the ball, and rebound. Their knowledge of the game will open the floor with some fast break opportunities. Defensively, they are just as reliable. They both shuffle their feet quite well and can out-muscle you for the ball."
Charkawi, who lives in Paden City, transferred from Tyler Consolidated over the summer and will do her talking on the court. "Myah is a very good outside shot and can pull down rebounds. She runs the floor well and can finish off fast breaks, as well as start them. She is working very hard to become that impact player that can do all the things necessary to become a great player," said Sine.
Parsons, Hizer, and Hannah Stanley will each get their share of playing time. Parsons and Hizer will look to play the forward position, while Lynah Stanley can sub for either of the Cosper sisters at point or the off guard. Hannah Stanley and freshman Blatt are in a battle to get the start at center. Don't count out Loy to get her fair share of court time, too. She hasn't played since eighth grade and is a little rusty. When she gets in basketball shape, Sine should have a three-headed monster in the paint, something Sine hasn't had since his days coaching at at St. Marys.
In talking about the rest of the varsity team's strength, Sine stated, "Parsons has quick hands and forced countless turnovers last year with her defensive skills. She also is a good shooter, but needs to start believing in her shooting ability.
"Hizer is getting better and better every day. She is a very good rebounder and can finish a fast break. Hannah Stanley is a Craft clone. She is a very good shooter and knows the game quite well. With her lifting weights, she is getting stronger and stronger and will be a player that can play any position on the floor.
"Blatt is a player. She can handle the ball and isn't afraid to mix it up. She can shoot, jump, and pull down rebounds. As she gets more and more varsity playing time, watch out--she can take us to another level.
"Depending on the team we're up against and how they play will help us decide who needs to be in the game. We need to be quicker on offense and score when we can," added Sine.
With a long list of capable reserves in waiting, all the girls will need to step up their game if they want quality playing time. However, Sine loves that. "The girls are all working hard every day. They are lifting and getting stronger and stronger," Sine declared.
Continuing, he said, "We have many players who will challenge each other, not only for playing time, but to get each other better and share the wealth. Our conditioning is coming along quite well. We will push the ball down the floor, shuffle our feet on defense, take good shots, and rebound the ball better than we ever have had here in quite awhile."
Assistant Coach Bruce Crawford added, "All the girls understand what is needed for them to make this a very good team and they are making us excited every day with their hustle and determination to make this squad very, very special."
Sine and Crawford are counting the intuitiveness of their players as a basic strength of the team. "They've picked up a more fundamental knowledge of the game and are gaining a better understanding of what to do in game situations," Sine added.
"We can't be afraid to take the shot when we have it, We're looking for everybody to get a chance at scoring. I want them all putting points on the scoreboard, not expecting someone else to do it.
"We will run the floor with reckless abandon and take good quality shots. We are working hard on all our fundamentals and do them right the first time. We will be a better passing team than we have been in the past, and we will be tough on the glass."
Sine said that the personal touch Ron Casto has added to the girls' weight lifting program is something that has been missing in basketball at Paden City. Sine also stated that the girls played in the Tyler Consolidated Knights Summer Girls' Basketball League in high school and junior high and did very well. The high school girls also competed in the Herbert Hoover Shootout.
In the weakness department, youth will be Paden City's main problem. "We're young, so inexperience goes hand-in-hand with that," Sine said. "We lost the bulk of our scoring when Dominique graduated. But, each season somebody new will step up and fill the shoes. However, this season, I believe we have many players that can do that. All we now have to do is wait and see who they are."
The coaches feel that the success that the PCHS volleyball team had should rub off on the basketball court, as well. Ciera Yoho and Dean Frye will be handling video and stats this season for the Lady 'Cats.
The Lady Wildcats will play their first game of the season on the road against the the Magnolia Lady Eagles Nov. 27 and will host the Bob and Sharon Burton Holiday Tournament starting Nov. 30.