CLASS 4A GIRLS Shiloh Christian girls have a new look, new challenge
November 8, 2009
SPRINGDALE Shiloh Christian will finally discover what life without Megan Herbert is like.
Herbert, who is set to begin her freshman season at Central Arkansas, has been the face of Shiloh Christian’s girls basketball program the past several seasons. Shiloh Christian went 6-22 in 2004-2005, the year before Herbert’s arrival, before posting records of 26-5, 28-4, 31-5 and 34-1 in Herbert’s four seasons.
She averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in each of those years, capping her career by guiding Shiloh Christian to its first state title last year.
Shiloh Christian Coach Vic Rimmer said he hopes Herbert’s attitude rubbed off on this year’s bunch.
“The biggest loss for the team is her leadership ability and her personality,” Rimmer said. “We just miss having her around.” Rimmer said the Lady Saints need to see continued development from 6-0 senior Kami Garrison and junior point guard Cheyenne Baker. Garrison, who averaged seven rebounds last year, must become more of a force inside, especially as a scorer. Baker is still learning offensively, but she is already one of the conference’s best defensive players.
Lindsay Roe, a 5-11 junior, showed flashes of athleticisim off the bench last year and will move into the starting power forward spot. Jessie Parks, Hannah Persing and Megan Henley will contend for the other two starting jobs.
“We need balance,” Rimmer said. “I’m not sure how we’re going to accomplish that. We haven’t been balanced the last four years.”
Three teams from the 1-4A advanced to the state quarterfinals last year, and the conference’s top four teams shut out the 4-4A Conference at regionals. That could happen again this season, with Shiloh Christian, Prairie Grove and Huntsville leading the way again, but the Lady Saints are no longerthe clear favorite.
Prairie Grove is the most experienced contender, with four returning starters and seven of its top nine back. Junior guard Kendra Coyle averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game last season while leading the Tigers (20-8) to the state quarterfinals.
Seniors Morgan Abernathy, Elysia Clement and Julie Rutherford are the other returning starters.
The wild card for Prairie Grove might be 6-0 freshman Justyne Huber.
“She can play any position,” Lady Tigers Coach Kevin Froudsaid. “She can shoot, handle the ball, and she’s got the ability to be a Division I player.”
Huntsville has the conference’s elite player in 6-1 post Martha Robinson, who averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds a game last year.
“She’s a great leader and a great athlete,” Huntsville Coach Charles Berry said. “Martha can run the floor probably better than anybody we’ve got.”
Senior point guard Brittany McCone and 6-0 junior post Kelsey Rodden are the other two returning starters for the Lady Eagles (27-7), who advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals last year.
4-4A CONFERENCE Ozark on guard
No team in the 4-4A Conference advanced to the state tournament last year, but Ozark came the closest, falling 30-29 to Prairie Grove in the regional quarterfinals.
The Lady Hillbillies (21-7) return three starters, including senior guard Emily Hawkins, who averaged 12 points a game last year and is one of the conference’s most dangerous outside shooters.
Ozark will go with a threeguard lineup again, with seniors DeEsta Shaffer and Clarissa King joining Hawkins. But the Lady Hillbillies lack size and lead a relatively weak 4-4A Conference.
“It will be tough for any of our teams to get out of regionals,” Ozark Coach Bret Nagel said.
Clarksville, like Ozark, is led by a senior shooting guard with plenty of range. Samantha Clokey averaged 12 points a game and shot 42 percent from threepoint range last year for the Lady Panthers, who went 13-10.
Clarksville also will have a guard-oriented lineup with juniors Hannah Banning and Katie Ostendorf returning to the backcourt.
“A lot of our scoring is going to have to come from the perimeter,” Clarksville Coach Randy Talley said. “We’ll go with a five-guard lineup a lot of games.”
Special, Pages 90 on 11/08/2009