Lady Devils eager for turnaround

Nov. 25—Look out for the Lady Devils.

The Owensboro High School girls' basketball team appears poised to take a significant step in the right direction in 2022-23, with the return of every key player from last year's squad and the addition of two first-rate transfers.

"We're very excited about what we're putting together here," said OHS coach Jansen Locher, whose team went 13-16 last season, falling to Owensboro Catholic in the first round of the 9th District Tournament. "We feel like we have all the pieces to the puzzle that we need, and it's just going to be a matter of putting everything together and discovering where all the pieces fit.

"Our players love playing the game with each other, and we're all determined to have a very successful season — our goals include making strong challenges for 9th District and 3rd Region championships."

Leading the way will be junior guard A'Lyrica Hughes, who led Owensboro in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg) last season.

"A'Lyrica does it all for us," Locher said of the longtime Lady Devils standout. "She's had to bear so much of the load before, but now we have more pieces around her, which will allow her to be more of a playmaker and distributor of the basketball.

"We'll still count on A'Lyrica to score and rebound, but there will be others on the court with her who can help in both areas."

Other returnees include freshman guard Unique Carter-Swanigan (6.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg), senior guard-forward Chandler Worth (7.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg), senior guard-forward Lindsey Gibson (5.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg), junior center Lizy Phillips (6.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), junior center Trinity Hogg (2 ppg, 2.7 rpg), junior guard Emma Wilkins (2 ppg) and senior guard Melia Moorman, who has been plagued by knee injuries throughout her career.

"Unique is one of the top on-ball defenders in the region, and she's becoming a more effective scorer," Locher said. "Chandler is a natural athlete who helps us in a lot of ways, Lindsey made the most 3-pointers for us last year, and both Lizy Phillips and Trinity Hogg have a strong inside presence.

"Emma and Melia will add to our depth, which is going to be considerable."

The addition of two transfers, senior guard CJ Paige from Daviess County (2.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and senior forward K'Asia Palmer from Apollo (1.5 ppg, 6 rpg), should also provide a significant impact.

"Their transition into our program has been great," Locher said of Paige and Palmer. "K'Asia's a smart player who makes good decisions, and she really gets on the boards. CJ is a good shooter and ball-handler who is improving every day at the defensive end."

With such a deep roster. Locher said his team plans to run, run and run some more this season.

"We want to make it an up-and-down full-court game throughout the game — speed the opposition up, force them into mistakes and get some easy baskets out of it," he said. "When you have the type of depth we have, every girl can go full speed the entire time they're on the court, and we will still have fresh players out there at the end of games.

"We'll force the pace at both ends, we'll press, and we'll take advantage of our overall athleticism as much as we can.

"This is the most complete team I've had here, and once we learn how to play together, get some wins under our belt and gain some confidence, we're going to be a tough out. We want to become the type of team that is competitive, night in and night out, and I believe we're going to get there."