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Driver: Rebuilding doesn’t mean losing times for Lady Admirals


2003-04 Farragut High School girls’ varsity basketball team
Rebuilding does not necessarily mean lower expectations for the FHS girls’ basketball team.

Despite the loss of senior star posts Alex Monday and Jessica Lange among four starters who led the Lady Admirals to back-to-back District 4-AAA regular season co-championships, it’s no time to panic.


“I think most people say this year ‘they’ve lost their two post players, they’re not going to be as strong,’” head coach Mike Driver said, “but I think we’ve got an opportunity to be as good a team, but a different team, than we have been the last two years. I think this team has the possibility of going out and winning a lot of games.

“It just depends on, first of all, do they mature as the season goes along as they get used to working together?” Driver added. “That’s why we played 30 games this summer in different camps.” Driver hopes summer competition helped prepare some of his younger players.

“This summer (in Shelbyville) I think we ended up 17-13,” Driver said. “I was happy with the harder schedule we played. We played some really good games over the summer. It was good for the girls, they got to see what we need to work on.”

More speed will be one improvement.

“We’ve got more speed than we had last year,” Driver said. “I think we’ve got a little more speed at the wing positions, depending on who’s in there.”

Just how much experience returns?

“You can’t do anything about the lack of experience, but we do have Natalie (Monday), Alex’s sister, who had a lot of playing time last year,” Driver said of his 6-foot junior post. (Ashley) Tipton had a lot of playing time last year. Of course, Beth Raby did. Amy Josephson got to play a little bit.”

RABY AND MONDAY

Sophomore wing Raby (5-foot-6), the only returning starter, is recovering from a torn ACL in her knee suffered late last season. “So far, so good on the healing process,” Driver said.

When healthy, “she’s not limited, she can drive and score, or she can shoot the three,” Driver said of Raby. “She’s very quick coming off the dribble, we like to try to get the ball out to her on the break and let her slash in there.”

Monday was the top back-up to her big sister Alex and Lange. “Natalie can play Division I (college) basketball if she wants to, it just depends what she does these next two years,” Driver said, adding that Monday can do that with a bit more improvement defensively and rebounding. “She brings another weapon, she can shoot the three also. She can drive and post-up. She’s got a lot of weapons.”

Driver also praised Monday for her play during summer camp games. “I think Natalie had a really good summer,” Driver said. “She probably had the best summer.”

OTHER GUARDS/WINGS

Junior 5-foot-9 wing/point Tipton will likely be opposite Raby at the other starting wing spot. “Ashley Tipton can shoot the three really well,” Driver said. “Also, she’s really worked on her driving and pull-up jumpers. That’s really improved. Ashley played extremely well for us this summer.”

Junior point guard Amy Josephson (5-foot-7) appears to have a starting spot nailed down. “Amy Josephson can drive down the middle a lot, she’s a penetrator,” Driver said. “She had a real good (summer) camp at Tennessee Tech when we went over there.”

At least two Lady Admirals hope to provide guard depth.

“Rachel Draper played a little bit for us last year on varsity, and she’s a really good shooter,” Driver said, holding out that the 5-foot-9 sophomore wing may be good enough to start. “She drives, and has a nice pull-up jumper.”

“Haley Williams is more a shooter from the perimeter,” Driver said. “More in the mold of Summer (Dalton).”

Sophomore back-up point Zanetta Mason and freshman wing Kera Beth Beverley will also be fighting for playing time.

“We’ve got some people that can drive and penetrate and pull-up and (shoot) the three,” Driver said. “I’m hoping this year we’ll be able to rotate a lot more people in and out. Get some different people playing time (so) when the game’s close, we’ll be able to put somebody in there that will be able to step up and make a big basket or get a good stop for us.”

OTHER POSTS

Four players are battling for a starting post spot opposite Monday.

Other posts are 5-foot-10 senior Kori Manes, who saw some varsity playing time last season. “She’s more of a traditional post player,” Driver said. “Rachel Simmons (6-foot sophomore) is also more of a traditional post.

Sophomore Catelyn Dake (5-foot-10) is said to be “more of a three-guard than a post, but she’s tall enough and quick enough where she can help us in the post,” Driver said.

Freshman post Kiah Simmons (6-foot) “is a big, strong girl inside,” Driver said. “She’s got to work on her post moves some more, but I think she’s going to be a really good player for us.” During summer camps Kiah won special praise “for a really good job on the offensive boards.”

NEW OFFENSE

“Last year we wanted Alex and Jess to touch the ball almost every time down court,” Driver said of last year’s approach to go inside to his big girls, “then hopefully it would open it up so Summer or Beth could hit from outside.”

“In the spring, we knew we had to change our offense around,” he added. “I’m a believer in changing your system to fit your personnel. We changed our system around a little bit to get more motion offense, to try to get a lot of looks from the outside. I think we’ve got a lot of good three-point shooters.”

“But also we didn’t give up on the inside, because we’ve got some good, young post players.”

Driver’s assistant coaches are Daniel Waters and Shannon Evans (freshman coach). Student assistants are Carolyn Levy and Amy DuRegger.









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