High Hoops

Posted on 14 November 2012 by admin

Lady Archers basketball season looks to start on a good note.

By: Spencer Gleason
-Sports Editor-

Kalah Martin, 3, and the Lady Archers battle the Southeastern Illinois College Lady Falcons for the basketball under the basket during their home opener on Nov. 8. The Lady Archers beat the Lady Falcons, 88-69. The Lady Archers began the season ranked 19 in the NJCAA. | PHOTO BY Spencer Gleason

After returning from Gallatin, Tenn., the Lady Archers basketball team returned home from their season-opening weekend with a 1-1 record. Facing off against two National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I teams, the Division II Lady Archers’ final scores nearly looked identical — beating Jackson State University, 69-45, and losing to Volunteer State Community College, 69-43.

“Overall it was a good weekend because the first game we came out real hard and aggressive. We knew that the second game was going to be the tougher game,” Lady Archers’ head coach Shelly Ethridge said. “However, it was a win-win situation for us because we got to play against that competition. We realized what we really need to focus in on and work on.”

Since then, the Lady Archers’, who were ranked 19 in the NJCAA Division II preseason polls, have gone 2-0. While lighting up the score board in their home opener, 88-69, over Southeastern Illinois College, the Lady Archers reached the triple-digit plateau when they traveled to face Shawnee Community College.

The 104-59 final was a feat not even the Region XVI Champion Lady Archers could accomplish last year en route to a NJCAA National Tournament appearance.

“We had a really good crowd that drove all the way down to Shawnee and they enjoyed seeing everybody lighting it up,” Ethridge said. “I did too. I didn’t have to do too much because the kids just took over and we let them play. When they’re playing like that and they’re all playing together, it’s really fun to watch.”

The 2012-2013 roster has eight returning players from last year’s team, along with three transfer sophomores and four freshmen. Sophomore forward, Lauren Maclin, who suffered a broken left foot during preseason conditioning, has had a unique vantage point watching the team gel.

“I definitely think we have a lot of potential. We’re a new team right now, so of course it’s going to be different, but I think we’re starting to get it together,” Maclin said. “It’s hard for me sitting there and being on the bench when I want to be out there playing, but when you can see your teammates having so much fun, you can’t help but be happy for them.”

The inaugural Lady Archers season, last year, saw the team reach the 20-win plateau and took Ethridge and assistant coach Melanie Marcy to their second consecutive NJCAA Tournament. In the Lady Archers second time around they look to keep that ball rolling.

“I think that that’s one thing that us as returnees really want to do. As a team though, we just need to take it one day at a time. We still have a long season ahead of us,” Maclin said. “Right now, we’re just going to focus on one game at a time and just try to get the wins going, so we can start getting our rhythm together and that chemistry and just be a team.”

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