November 14, 2012

Prep girls basketball area previews

Aiming for a new year


North Murray

Everyone is back from the 2011-12 team that gave North Murray its first winning record — the Lady Mountaineers went 17-13 last season, a year after going 4-22 — and coach Keith Robinette sees plenty to like about having that group together again.

“We improved tremendously last year,” Robinette said. “With our first senior class for the girls now, they’re a year older and more mature.”

Robinette has confidence in the shooting of senior guard Abigail Bradley and junior guard/wing Kara Bradley, the team’s best outside offensive options last season, and the team has excellent size at post. Seniors Meagan Spivey (6-1) and Casey Chapman (5-9), junior Grace Phillips (5-9) and sophomore Erin Robinson (6-1) form the inside core, while senior Hannah Hensley (5-10) will log extensive time as a combo point guard/wing.

Robinette said Robinson, Hensley, Bradley and Deal all averaged 6 to 9 points per game last season.

Others vividly in the mix include sophomore point guard Megan Pittman, senior guards Taryn Thomas and Lindsey Ray and senior wing/guard Dara Dople.

“We’re 10 deep,” said Robinette, whose team has moved from Region 7-2A to 5-3A. “We have a lot of balance.”

And Robinette isn’t worried about confusion over who does what.

“With the game experience that most of them have, these kids understand their roles,” Robinette said. “I’ve been hard on them, this year more than the past. They’ve responded well. With our depth, we hope to wear teams down. We want to take advantage of our height. Defensively, we want to press. We want to push the tempo.”

Robinette said the Lady Mountaineers are “definitely eyeing” a region championship this season.

“That is a lofty but realistic goal,” said Robinette, who will be assisted for the second straight year by Audre Allen but is joined for the first time by former Murray County girls coach Traci Rankin, who led the Lady Indians from 2005 to 2010.

North Murray’s season opens at 6 p.m. Thursday against Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. in Dalton’s Lady Cats Invitational.

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