Fans looking for high energy, fast paced, aggressive basketball this season need to add the Tyler Consolidated Lady Knight basketball schedule to their calender. Determining that this is the year they make an impact, the Lady Silver Knights were scheduled to begin their road to success on Tuesday.
"We're ready to play," said head coach of the Lady Knights, Matt Kinnard. "The team has come together very well and we're ready to put what we've been doing in practice into action."
"Every member of our team has worked very hard in the preseason to get ready for this coming year. We're as ready as we're going to be."
Lady Knight basketball 2013/14
Three seniors and two juniors will lead the Silver and Black on the court, mentoring the youngsters on the team with experience and strong determination.
Seniors Sophie Kinnard, 5'10"; Sydney Reed, 5'10"; and Hillary Casteel, 5'6" will be the main stays on the court for the Tyler Consolidated team, each bringing their own talents to the overall play of the Ladies in Black. Kinnard, a strong forward or guard will be looked to both for her strong defensive play as well as her intent to find the basket against all odds and defensive set ups; Reed, a two guard, will be counted on heavily for her aggressive defense as well as the ability to hit the long shot in the cluth; and Casteel's quickness will play into her role as a small forward to the benefit of the team.
Juniors Sydney Yoho, 5'9", Kaitlyn Gogan, 5'5", and Breanna Yeater are expected to fill leadership roles and contribute to the team on both sides of the ball. Yoho has grown into her role as a strong center and brings a methodical work ethic to the position; Gogan, at point guard, will set the pace up front for the Silver; while Yeater , at the post position, should fit easily into that strong defensive slot.
"These girls have already made a difference in the team," said the coach. "Their leadership is showing on the court and off. They're taking the time to teach and talk to their younger team mates and all have the same goal in common, to win.They've proven themselves to be unselfish and it's a characteristic that is carrying over to the rest of the team."
Joining the juniors and seniors on the varsity line up will be sophmores Ariel Fish, 5'7", and Hannah Casteel, 5'7" and freshman, Vanessa Templeton, 5'8".
Members of the predominately junior varsity Lady Knights will include: sophomores, Kara Dalrymple, Madison Kisner and Martha Shepherd; and freshmen, Madison West, Kylie Martin, Aleah Black, Isis Moore, Bailey Longwell and Bethany Little, with Martin and West honing in on varsity spots at any given time.
"Assistant coach Bob West and myself expect a lot of these kids this year," Kinnard said. "And I'm happy to say that they are expecting a lot of themselves as well. "They are not going to be content to just play. They want to play well and they want to win. That's a major strength of this team."
"We will be playing unselfish basketball," the coach said when asked what he expected other strengths of his team to be. "Total team play, that's what we're after. We're also a very versatile team and will be able to adapt to anything our competition puts in front of us, inside game, outside game, up-tempo, low-tempo, whatever. That's our goal and the girls are doing a great job of getting the job done."
As for weaknesses, coach Kinnard says if he must choose, he will say the depth of the bench. "It's not that we don't have good players on the bench, because we do. We have some good caliber of players on our bench that will come out and likely win some games for us, but any coach will tell you that in a perfect world every player on the bench would be able to match up with any player on the floor they replace. We're working towards that."
Other than a trip to the West Virginia State High School Girls Basketball Championships, the Lady Knights have set lofty goals for themselves this season: They are planning to perform well and place in the Paden City Christmas Tournament, the Roundball Tournament at Tyler Consolidated and hope to be in the championship game on the night of the LKC Night of Champions tournament.
Tough competition will be coming at the Lady Knights from all angles this year with St. Marys, Magnolia and Ravenswood all returning top players and Linsly's being added to the schedule.
If all goes as planned, the Lady Knights will not only top last years win loss record, but go on to be one of the most memorable seasons in school history.