The Lady Indians are in new surroundings, but they aren’t on an easy path to success.
“We jumped out of the pan into the fire,” coach Michael Hill said. “Although we dropped from 3A to 2A, we’re competing against two of the top teams in the state.
“Calhoun will be a serious contender. Model is always up there. Last year we went against teams like Allatoona, Dalton and Cartersville, and it was tough. It’s not getting any easier for the girls this year.”
The Lady Indians struggled to 8-19 overall and 2-9 Sub-region 7B-3A records last season with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. Those players are older, wiser and more experienced as Murray County prepares to battle in Region 7-2A.
Murray County returns four of five starters from last season, with guard Kellie Newport the lone loss from the lineup. Point guard McKenzie Carroll and guard Holly Stanfield — who led the Lady Indians in scoring and assists last season — and posts Katlyn Richardson and Caitlyn Sims form the team’s nucleus in its third season under Hill’s direction. Carroll, Sims and Stanfield are juniors, while Richardson is a sophomore.
“Because we were so young a year ago, our core group is made up of sophomores and juniors,” Hill said. “There are no seniors at all, so we’ll still be somewhat young, but they have a year of experience. I believe we’re going to be more competitive than we’ve been in a long time. We want to get the program back on track where it used to be.”
According to records posted at Ga.PrepCountry.com, the Lady Indians haven’t come close to posting a winning mark since going 13-14 in the 2004-05 season. Since then, the Lady Indians are at least 70 games under .500.
“But this group plays team ball,” Hill said. “Nobody’s selfish. It’s a cohesive unit.”
Murray County opens the season a week from today against Ooltewah (Tenn.) in the Zaxby’s Thanksgiving Classic at Ridgeland High.