Senior Katherine Curry, left, and sophomore Ashley Owens are Adair’s only returning starters from a year ago, and will be asked to lead the way for a young Lady Indians squad this season.
When the Lady Indians take the court tonight for their first contest of the season, they will look very little like the squad that finished 17-12 a year ago. Head coach James Turner must incorporate a slew of young and inexperienced players into the rotation after losing six seniors to graduation, and only two players – senior Katherine Curry and sophomore Ashley Owens – saw significant playing time last season.
“With the exception of those two, they’re all very inexperienced,” Turner says. “We’re going to have to get a lot better as the year goes on, and I think we will. It just takes a little time with so many girls playing varsity for the first time.”
Much of the leadership role this year will fall on Curry’s shoulders. A wing player with the ability to play inside and out, Curry averaged almost 10 points a game last year, but – as the squad’s only senior – will be expected to do even more this year. “She’ll probably shoot more this year, and we’ll need her to rebound as well,” Turner says. “She’s done a really good job so far in our scrimmages.”
Only a sophomore, Owens will also be looked to for leadership this season. As the starting point guard last season, she led the team in assists and field goal percentage, and also chipped in 11 points per contest. “Ashley’s percentage might go down a little this year because she’ll be taking more shots,” Turner says. “She and Katherine will just have to be patient as they learn to play with a new group. She’s a good player and we will rely on her to do a lot for us.”
Two players expected to step up and make an immediate impact this year are juniors Emilee Camfield and Taylor Cole. “They both missed last year with injuries, but they should be a big help,” Turner says. “Kyla Kessler and Rachel Parrish will also see more playing time.”
With less size this year compared to previous teams, Turner expects his squad to shoot more three pointers this year. “Outside shooting should be one of our strengths,” Turner says. “We shot the ball pretty well this summer but more than that I was impressed with how hard we played. That’s a good sign.”
Overall, Turner sees this season as an opportunity for his players to grow and develop as the season progresses. “I expect us to improve,” he says. “We might take some lumps early on, but if we play hard and play together we’ll be competitive by district tournament time. It will be a process.”
Tipoff for tonight’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. The first home contest is set for Friday night at 5:30 p.m. against Green County.