Eagles Goals Lofty, Despite Apparent Loss of Winters
After making their third straight trip to Charleston, the Blue Eagles girls basketball team looks to make it their fourth this season. However, they will have to do it without their services of the school’s single-game high scorer in Mady Winters who appears to be out the entire season with a knee injury.
But, never fear, (6-1) Kyndra Pilant is back for her fourth season. She has signed to further her basketball and academic skills at Concord University. Pilant, has been “The girl” during her first 3-seasons achieving a double-double in pretty much all 3-seasons of basketball.
Pilant has been a monster rebounder, shot blocker and scorer since her grasshopper days, accounting for 1,102 rebounds, 1,032 points, 250 assists, 215 blocked shots and 118 steals, and she isn’t done.
However, she is only one player, and losing Winters it looks like she will need to bump up all of those totals for Magnolia to get back to state. The Eagles return (6-6) sophomore Holland Estep who will help in the post, as well as seniors (5-8) LaraAnn Smith, (5-9) senior Raegan Hale at forwards.
Junior starter Lenieca Grimm (5-5) will bring the ball down to help with the press, as (5-6) Audrey Cross and (5-6) Abigail Clegg looks to do fill that spot.
When Estep is not in the game, either Cross or Clegg will be starting. Both Cross and Clegg are very quick and can pick-pocket if teams don’t take care of the ball. They both run the floor well and can swish the cords.
At forward Smith and Hale will help Pilant and Estep out in the paint. Smith looks to be the outside threat, while Hale looks to be a contributor of many things, including getting the ball to Pilant and Estep in the paint. She can also score, but look for Cross and Clegg to run the break and contribute when they need too. The tandem of Clegg and Cross on defense along with Pilant are quick and will get some easy baskets off the press.
But, when teams try to get inside and see a 6-1 and a 6-6 athlete inside the paint, teams will need to either attack the paint and hope to get them in foul trouble, or learn to drain it from outside to keep up with the Blue Eagle team.
During the early part of the season, it looks like these three will handle the load, but they will see a lot more than six girls play. Freshman Makia Litton looked very good in the early scrimmages. She can handle the rock and has all the tools to be a very good basketball player, and has no fear inside. She has a senior mentality about the game, and expect her to see more and more playing time as the season progresses. Tamia Smith and Jazlyn Ingold will give Magnolia a lift off the bench to round out the varsity team.
What ever the case, the Blue Eagles have a monster of a season ahead of them this season. Besides Wheeling Central, Shadyside and Monroe Central who are very good, the Eagles must take on teams like Musselman, Jefferson, Charleston Catholic, Warren Local and Parkersburg South besides the Undo’s and the OVAC Class-3A Tournament
I believe that this year’s schedule is the hardest the Magnolia girls have every played. But if they can learn from these games and keep Kyndra healthy, I can’t see them not making it back to the Dance.
Helping with the coaching duties is Joe Asturi. The Lady Eagles opened the season with Wheeling Central Dec. 3, Musselman Dec. 6 and Jefferson Dec. 7. And will take on both Linsly on the road Dec. 12 and River Dec. 14 with tip-off scheduled for 6 pm.
Projected record: 11-12