May 28, 2016

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Girls basketball preview
Lawrenceville program features nine freshmen
LAWRENCEVILLE - When Lawrenceville High School girls basketball coach Misty Bellville tells you her team is young and inexperienced, she's not kidding.

In her 18th season at LHS, Bellville has 14 players in the program, with 13 of those being freshmen or sophomores.

"The first couple of weeks is going to be trial and error," said Bellville, whose roster features nine freshmen and four sophomores. "It'll be interesting to see how we do."

The only senior is last year's top scorer, 5-11 senior Kourtney Osmon. She averaged 11.6 points a game on a team that finished 6-17, but underwent knee surgery over the summer.

"I'm expecting (Osmon) to lead the team," said Bellville, whose team opens Tuesday with a game at Edwards County. "She's got the most experience and knows how to handle certain situations in games that I don't know the other kids are ready for."

The nine freshmen have seen success at the younger levels. As seventh graders in 2012, eight of them were members of the team that finished 21-2 and advanced to the Illinois Elementary School Association state finals. Last year as eighth graders, they finished 17-4 and won a regional title.

"They need to learn to win again, but you're dealing with a group that's used to winning," said Bellville, who is in her 18th season as the Lady Indians' coach. "They don't like to lose. They're very competitive. I think they bring a lot to the table in that way. They want to work hard so they win games. They don't like to lose and they don't want to lose."

Cailyn Andrews, a 5-10 sophomore who averaged 2.1 points a game while running the point a year ago, returns for the Lady Indians. Other sophomores are 5-7 Kelsie Ferrell, who played in all 23 games and averaged 4.8 points, 5-9 Kazia Frederick, who scored 0.6 points a game in 16 appearances off the bench, and 5-6 Kara Galligan, who did not play in a varsity game.

Two of the freshmen, Morgan Parrish and Brianna Mefford, stand 6-1. Parrish is a likely starter, while Mefford will certainly see plenty of playing time.

"Morgan's a pretty good offensive threat," said Bellville. "And if Brianna's behind her, she's not behind by much."

The Lady Indians are also counting on 5-5 Macey Waggoner, 5-9 Cassie Vogel and 5-6 Alicia Wimberly to contribute to the varsity squad as freshmen. As for now, 5-0 Annie Bellinger, 5-9 Natalee Reynolds, 5-4 Sydney Sherman and 5-9 Madison Decker will play strictly in junior varsity games.

The Lady Indians' obvious advantage is size. A lineup with Andrews and Ferrell in the back court with Osmon, Parrish and Mefford would provide a lineup of four players who stand 5-10 or taller.

"I think that would cause some matchup problems for the team we're playing," Bellville said. "We may try to go big and I think that would be a definite strength. All of them shoot really well and handle the ball well and I think if we were to put on a press it would be really hard to get past."

Bellville says the team is deeper, quicker and more athletic than teams of the recent past. LHS is looking for its first winning season since 2007, when the team finished 21-6 and won a regional crown.

"I'm pretty optimistic about the season," she said. "Even though you're young I feel like we could have a pretty good season. I'm hoping we're over .500 and have a good year."

The Lady Indians will host their first game in the new gym a week from tonight when Lawrence County rival Red Hill pays a visit.

LHS schedule

Nov. 19 Edwards County, 6:15 p.m.

Nov. 21 RED HILL, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 2 PALESTINE*, 5:15 p.m.

Dec. 5 Marshall*, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 9 CASEY*, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 12 Flora*, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 16 ROBINSON*, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 19 Olney*, 6:15 p.m.

Dec. 23 W. Memorial, Ind.-x, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 26 Princeton, Ind.-x, 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 27 Linton, Ind.-x, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 28 Toyota Teamwork Classic-x

Jan. 6 FAIRFIELD, 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 9 CUMBERLAND*, 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 11 Mt. Carmel, noon

Jan. 13 Red Hill, 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 15-23 LIC Tournament

Jan. 27 Newton, 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 30 EDWARDS CO.*, 6:15 p.m.

Feb. 3 VINC. LINCOLN, 6:15 p.m.

Feb. 6 Oblong, 6:15 p.m.

*-LIC game

x-Toyota Teamwork Classic



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