Nov. 25—Coming off a 10-19 season that included a 15-point loss to Breckinridge County in the first round of the 11th District Tournament, the Hancock County High School girls' basketball team is seeking to step up.
"We need to find success as a team and not depend so much on one or two players," Lady Hornets coach Kevin Husk said. "We need to play at a good pace, keep the game up and down.with good pace — keep the game up and down"
Hancock County will also be seeking a faster start to the new season.
"We started slow last year, going 2-8," Husk said. "We did a lot of learning on the court — the girls really fought all season and grew so much on the court. We finished the second part of the season going 8-11 and played strong competition during that stretch.
"With everyone returning from last year's team, we're looking to take the next step and make it to the regional tournament and see if we can make some noise once we're there."
The Lady Hornets will be led by senior guard Bailey Poole, who averaged 14.6 points per game as a junior. Poole is a quality 3-point and free-throw shooter.
"Bailey looks focused starting her senior year," Husk said, "and she is ready to help lead this team to the region tournament."
Other key returnees include junior guard Ella House (10.5 ppg, 7 rpg), junior guard-forward Lily Roberts (12 ppg, 5 rpg) and senior Emma Morris.
"Ella is the heart and soul of our team," Husk said. "The team feeds off of her energy. She's the grittiest kid I've ever coached and continues to develop her game.
"Lily is a tough matchup with her guard and low-post skills. She'll continue to improve and look even stronger this year on the court.
"And Emma is so selfless and is willing to do whatever she needs to do for this team to be successful."
Now, Husk believes, it's time for his team to shine
"Teams that play the Lady Hornets will need to be ready from the start," Husk said. "We'll mix it up on defense and offense but will always play with pace — keep the game up and down the court, with all-out effort all the time."
BRECKINRIDGE COUNTYThe Lady Tigers won 26 of 33 games and made it all the way to the 3rd Region championship game in 2021-22, but this will be a season to rebuild, according to coach Chad Moorman.
"We lost a key group of seniors and will be rebuilding," Moorman said, "but we have a great core to build around to continue the program's success.
"We will be young in a lot of areas, but this group has had the opportunity to make their impact in some big games the last few years, and it will be exciting to watch them grow."
Key returnees include junior guard Caroline Lucas (7 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 spg), center Kayleigh Huffines (8 ppg, 8 rpg, 3 bpg) and freshman guard Elizabeth Grimes.
"Caroline is a very quick and athletic guard, and she's one of the best defenders around," Moorman said. "She has the ability to get to the rim as she pleases.
"Kayleigh is a long, athletic player who has improved enough to be considered one of the best post players in the region, and Elizabeth gave us some great minutes last year down the stretch. She is a floor general who can control the tempo.
"One of the keys for us is to gain experience and establish leadership. Caroline and Kayleigh must be consistent in the scoring column.
"The young girls coming back saw what it took to be successful last season, and this group has continued the hard work in the offseason."
MEADE COUNTYThe Lady Waves are coming off a superb 2021-22 season, going 29-7, capturing the 3rd Region Tournament championship and winning a game in the Sweet 16.
"The coaching staff and players have high expectations this season," Meade County coach Dina Hackert said. "With almost all starters returning and the experience of the state tournament, we are hoping, if we can stay healthy, to have an opportunity to repeat a deep tournament run.
"We have a tough schedule this season and hope to improve as we play some of the best teams in the state."
Top returnees include sophomore guard Peyton Bradley, who led the state in 3-point shooting last season (44.4%) while averaging 19.3 points, five rebounds and three assists per game.
"Peyton has become a much more versatile player in the offseason," Hackert said. "She's getting to the rack and has developed her mid-range jumper. She's a tremendous competitor and leader on our team.
"Even though she's ranked in the top 5 in the state of her class, it's never about Peyton in her mind. It's about winning and making the Lady Waves successful."
Other key returnees include senior forward Katie Durbin (7.4 ppg), junior guard Paige Medley (7.4 ppg) and senior guard Mattie Clanton (4.4 apg). Also in the mix are junior guard AnnaBelle Babb and senior center Sage Crawley.
"If we can stay healthy, we can compete with most teams on our schedule," Hackert said. "Success for us will be to compete and get better."
CLOVERPORTThe Lady Aces went 5-19 last season, losing a lopsided decision to eventual regional champion Meade County in the opening round of the 11th District Tournament.
Cloverport lost much of its scoring and rebounding to graduation, but the team does return sophomore guard Alexis Hurst (1.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
The Lady Aces will also be counting on junior guard Cascy Burden, freshman forward Lilah More, sophomore guard Caleigh Roach and sophomore forward Johnnie Taul.