Last season: 5-26 (lost in 43rd District semifinals to Lafayette)
Coach: Kent Miller (second year)
Three key contributors
Sydney Weeks: She’s a 5-7 guard, who Miller looks to for leadership and believes is one of the best shooters in the 11th Region. “Catch and shoot, my money would be on her against anybody,” he said. Her confidence got shaken a little at an early practice, so Miller had her do a 25-shot “Ray Allen” drill (Allen being the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history). She missed three.
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Grace Combs: The 5-7 sophomore guard has started since eighth grade. “Very strong off the bounce. She’s a much better three-point shooter than she thinks, sometimes,” Miller said. “She’s another weapon for us on the floor as far as the opportunity to go to the rim. She’s a great driver. She drives really hard to the rim.”
Payton Rodgers: The 5-7 junior is an undersized post player. “She’s really done a great job in this program, playing undersized in the post. She’s a tremendous rebounder, and she’s scoring now in the offense we’re running,” Miller said.
Others to watch
Bethany Selby, a 5-7 sophomore who transferred from Bluegrass Baptist adds another threat inside and out. “She’s amazingly strong for her age, and she knows how to use it,” Miller said. “She doesn’t mind taking a hit and looks for contact going to the rim.” And Charis Hill, a 5-7 senior: “Her energy is amazing.”
Games you gotta see
LCA always circles the matchups with Lexington Catholic on Jan. 4 and Feb. 3, but perhaps the benchmark game to see how far they’ve come will be Dec. 16 against Paul Laurence Dunbar, another district foe.
Miller was away from high school girls’ basketball for 10 years until taking the LCA coaching job last year. He’s noticed some changes. “I think the girls are more aggressive than they were 10 years ago,” he said. “Aggressive on the offensive end and the defensive end. When you can get that out of them, and get them to do that, then it becomes a pretty good game. I think the referees have adjusted … a lot of times they wouldn’t let girls play. And now, it’s more like the guys’ game where you can bump a little bit and be a little more physical.”
On losing: “Obviously, our district is really tough, but we were in a lot of games. And it’s really just because the effort of the girls. … I didn’t handle the losses as well as some of them did. They picked me up a lot. Sometimes, I’d go to practice and go ‘OK, what do I have to do to get them up?’ You know, after this tough loss or whatever it was, and they were ready to go. They come ready to practice, ‘C’mon, Coach, let’s go.’ So, it got me going.”
“Hopefully, we can add a couple of more wins this year, but attitude was great last year and I’d assume the same thing’s going to happen this year.”
Sydney Weeks: “I’m looking forward to districts this year, because I think we can be really competitive. … We have the potential to be better than last year, so I’m very excited.”
Payton Rodgers: “We’re playing better together than we ever have. … We blend together a lot better and are working more as a team, definitely. … This year’s probably one of the best years for me.”
Charis Hill: “I think as a team we can definitely break through and change up the basketball scene a little bit. Hopefully get our name out there a little more.”
Grace Combs: “This season is a lot different. … I think we’re finally settling down to the new coach. We don’t have to worry about a lot of change, so we’ve gotten to know each other really well. … He cares about winning a lot, but he also cares about us a lot … which makes it a lot easier to play for him and makes us want to play as hard as we can for him.”