‘Jills Will Need To Replace Four Starters From Last Season’s Squad
Valley Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Larry Weekley, in his 25th season, will have to replace four starters from last season: Aly Weber, Lauren Ueltschy, Hannah Shaw, and Lesta Kocher who were lost to graduation.
Most high school teams normally have to start from scratch after losing four quality players, but all they do at Valley is re-load. Weekley has had only four losing seasons in the past 24 years, and this year will be no exception.
It may not be as hard as one would think to begin a season on a positive note, mostly thanks to seven experienced players returning from last season. Starter Brittany Guthrie will be back to mesh with Morgan Starkey, Jackie Greathouse, Tiffany Hayes, Leah Morris, Heidi Shaw, and Dani Hayes, all of whom saw considerable playing time last season.
Weekley and sixth-year Assistant Coach Tim Starkey use many players and it has paid off in the past. Underclassmen Holli Schell and Chelsea Underwood will somehow find their way on the gym floor.
“We will shoot, pass, rebound, and play good old fashioned defense the way will have been playing the last 25 years,” said Weekley.
Guthrie is the lone player who scored double digits last season. In addition, she led the team in steals and assists and is the best foul shooter on the team. Although she was slowed down with an ankle injury late last season, she missed only two games and played half of the game in a couple of contests.
She finished ninth in the county scoring column, with 182 points, and was the second highest Lumberjill scorer, with an average 8.7 points per game. She was 23-68 from beyond the arc for 43 percent, while shooting a little under 77 percent from the free throw line, making 33-43. Guthrie also was tops in ‘Jill assists and steals, with 34 and 60, respectively.
Greathouse has more than just a little court time. She has played on the varsity team the last two seasons and has proved to be ready to showcase her talents. She is an excellent rebounder and shot blocker, and is the only senior on the team. She will be called upon to be the team leader
Morgan Starkey and Tiffany Hayes are steady, day in and day out. They both rebound, play “good old fashioned defense”, and can shoot the rock from outside.
Shaw is quite the player. She, along with Greathouse and Morris, are each capable of rebounding and scoring 10 points a game. Morris and Tiffany Hayes stepped up and did a good job the last couple seasons, but they will need to step it up another notch for the ‘Jills to have any success early in the season.
Underwood, Dani Hayes, and Holli Schell will be coming off the bench and should supply the Lumberjills with key minutes.
New to the program is Annaliese Henderson, a sophomore, who will help JV Coach Tim Starkey lead his team, which will have eight freshmen to work with. They include Megan Butcher, Ali Haught, Alyssa Wright, Samantha Thomas, Jessica Ashcraft, Justine Miller, Paige Adams, and Brittany Haught.
The junior varsity team will showcase the same type of offense and defense the varsity plays and seems to have picked up the scheme of things pretty well.
The Lady ‘Jills will begin their season tonight on the road against Bishop Donahue and will host the Cameron Dragons on Dec. 4. Both games begin with the junior varsity game set to tip off at 6 p.m.