Lady Eagles Continue To Rebuild
By BILL ABRAHAM
Special to the Sports Department
The Magnolia Lady Eagles this year will continue rebuilding from the graduation loss two years ago of Alycia Bell, Rene Shepherd, and Kayla Brill.
Last season’s inexperienced team ended in a disappointing 5-17 record and this year the Lady Eagles do without Lindsay Riggs, Corinne Murdock, and Tincy Haught, who graduated last year.
Riggs was noted for some fine boxing out and other defensive moves in close, while Murdock and Haught put up a combined 434 points for the Lady Eagles. Both Haught and Murdock were named honorable mentions last year in this newspaper’s first Wetzel County All-Star Team.
A deadly shooter when open, Murdock also went 45-68 from the charity stripe, dished up 70 assists ,and drilled 10 hoops from downtown. Haught, 55 percent from the stripe, snatched a team-high 178 rebounds in 22 contests.
Head Coach Dave Chapman will be looking to a few returning players this year – most of them sophomore – to bring the team together and set the bar.
He and assistants Frank Cibik and Zach Blair are working the team hard on the fast break, boxing out, close shooting and the mastery of other fundamental skills that are essential for a winning squad.
There also are seven new freshmen players who are anxious to get in and will work to come off the bench for some clock time this season.
“What our girls may lack in experience, they make up for in raw determination,” said Chapman. “If they show up and continue working as hard as they have been, the only limits they will have are those they choose to have.”
Returning to the point this year is junior Padyn Ludewig, who received first-team honors on last year’s Wetzel County All-Star Team. She lit up the scoreboard 299 times last year and topped other county players with 144 assists and 105 steals.
“Padyn loves to have the basketball in her hands and we’re going to make sure she has it there as much as possible. She also understands how to compete without the ball.”
While transitioning the ball last year, Ludewig added more than 190 points for the Lady Eagles, including 30 points the hard way. A decent foul shooter (71 percent), she has a high athletic IQ, a strong work ethic, and will be expected to apply her leadership to reverse last year’s finish.
Lyndsay Cain, the team’s lone senior, will go to the center along with sophomore Abby Harlan. Both are 5’10; both saw limited action last year. And, while neither has emerged yet as a power forward, both can shoot the basketball from the floor and the stripe.
In addition, both will be expected to defend inside the paint with blocking and rebounding skills. Cain will be backed up at the post by 5’10 sophomore Alivia Mellot, who also may earn time at the center.
Sophomore guards Dallas Mullet and Marissa Bosley return with both shooting and transition talents. Both are multiple-sport athletes who got playing time in almost every contest last year. They have good ball-handling capabilities and Chapman will look to them, and classmate Jordan Babe, to improve those skills both offensively and defensively.
What may be paramount to Chapman this year is holding on to late-game leads that the Lady Eagles gave up in several contests last year. That means a strong D, which, as the Blue Eagle Football Team has shown, wins at the championship level.
“We need to play great defense, rebound, and share the basketball,” Chapman summarized. “We have great team speed, we can shoot the ball, and have the athleticism to get it up and down the floor. We feel good about that and we like it.”
The freshmen newly out this year are Krista Emch, Brittany Cuddaback, Hillary Feldmeier, Alexis Kastigar, Jessica Moore, Destiny Yoho, and Kennedy Slampak.
The varsity launched the 2009-10 season Tuesday at home when Magnolia hosted the Lady Silver Knights of Tyler Consolidated.