Last season: 5-24 (lost to Lafayette in semifinals of 43rd District Tournament)
Coach: Kent Miller (first year)
1. Hannah Sue Hartley: 5-5 senior guard with a high basketball IQ. She’s coming back from a knee injury suffered last December. “She does a really good job running the show.... As she comes along I think we’ll continue to progress pretty decently.”
2. Sydney Weeks: 5-7 junior guard who’s strong from the perimeter. “Sydney’s going to be able to light it up pretty good if I can get her the right shots.”
3. Grace Combs: 5-7 freshman guard with good scoring touch. “She’s strong and has played a lot. Her main thing is playing basketball year-round.”
Others to watch: Peyton Rogers, a sophomore who has played big minutes in the past. “She’s a really good athlete,” Miller said. Charis Hill, a junior who didn’t play last year “but makes a world of difference on this team.” She played softball at LCA last season and brings solid rebounding and competitive intensity to the squad.
Rogers said structure has been the biggest difference under Coach Miller. “We’re expected to do our best all the time. I really like that everyone’s working a lot harder. ... It’ll be hard not having a huge number of girls or a lot of height, but we can do it.”
Games you gotta see: The Eagles go to Lexington Catholic on Jan. 6 and host the Knights on Feb. 5. LCA hosts Frankfort on Jan. 19 in its 11th Region All “A” Classic opener.
Fast fact: Coach Miller spent the last eight seasons as an assistant for Eastern Kentucky University’s women’s basketball team. He’s previously coached at Georgetown College, Model, Madison Central and Bryan Station.
“I’ve had a bunch of different jobs but I’ve lived in the same house for 27 years,” Miller said with a laugh.
Moving to LCA: “I was looking to get out of the college game. The travel was getting really tough for me. ... I’ve always admired Lexington Christian Academy and got lucky enough and got the job.”
Rebuilding: “They only won five games last year but I think we’ll be competitive. ... I haven’t even talked about last year (with the girls). It’s all brand new. I’m new, we’re getting new uniforms. I’m trying to do everything new. We’re trying to make the locker room nicer and making sure the girls have all the things they need to have. ... (Athletic Director) Terry Johnson has done a tremendous job putting the athletic program together and wants us to compete at the highest level with a Christ-centered attitude. As our headmaster says sometimes, ‘Jesus didn’t like to lose either,’ so winning’s not a bad thing.”
Coaching girls versus boys: “Girls are pretty much pleasers, most of them. You get into practice, tell ’em what you’re gonna do and they pretty much give it to ya. You don’t have to hardly raise your voice, you go through what you need to do and they’re very coachable. Guys think they all invented the game. And I’m a guy too, I was the same way. You have to break them down a little bit. As they get broken down, then you can build them back up. You don’t have to do that with girls.
“The other difference is girls have a tendency to bring everything that happened to them that day on the court. So you have to really know your players a little bit better than guys. When you and I walk across the court, this is our solace right here (pointing at the court). There’s nothing else going on. Nothing’s bothering us, it’s just ball. Girls bring stuff with them and it’s more emotional. If they have a fight with their boyfriend at lunchtime, it’s probably going to affect their practice that day. And you have to know that.”
Hannah Sue Hartley: On goals ... “I’m expecting us to come out, work hard, play together as a team and glorify God in the process.”
Charis Hill: “I expect us to go out there and play whole-heartedly whether we win or lose and just maintain the same attitude throughout the season.”
Grace Combs: “(Coach Miller) expects us to be more of a family instead of just girls coming out to play basketball together. ... I think we’re going to go out and surprise a lot of people this year.”