LITTLE CINCINNATI -- The fortunes of the Eastern Greene High School girls basketball team will again be guided by Zack Stevens.
This will be his third season as varsity coach of the Lady Thunderbirds, who finished 9-15, 5-3 in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference a year ago.
"We begin the season with 17 girls," said Stevens. "And several of them have varsity experience.
"We lost two girls from last year's team. We have two seniors and five juniors. We have a good mix of girls with experience and others that are learning what it takes to play on this level. We have several girls that have played a lot and then we have younger girls that will have a chance to earn a spot and playing time."
Eastern Greene, who allowed 48 points per game a year ago while scoring just over 44, will again be focusing on defense.
"I know you get tired of me saying this, but we have to generate offense from our defense," said Stevens, who will have Aaron Buskirk and Sarah Cobine serving has his assistants this season. "We have to be able to score points off of our defense and create easy opportunities in transition."
Brooke Butler and Alex Dubois are the lone seniors on the EGHS roster.
Butler, who averaged 3.6 points in her 18 games played a year ago, will play at point guard.
Dubois played in 22 games in 2011-12 and averaged 1.3 points per game.
Dubois is 5-5 and will play both forward and guard.
"I couldn't ask for two better senior leaders," said Stevens. "They both work hard and have great attitudes. It is funny when I hear them telling the younger girls the same thing I have been telling them for the past three years.
"Brooke will be asked to share the load at point guard. We will look to them for a lot of contributions both on and off the court."
Sierra New, a 5-6 junior, averaged 4.6 ppg as she played in all 24 games last season.
"Sierra is a hard worker that will get after it," said Stevens. "She will play at forward for us.
"Like all of our players, we are asking them to step up and contribute even more this season. We lost Brittany Igel and Kelsey Wagner from last year's team and they combined to score between 25 and 30 points per game. We will have to make that up somewhere."
Brittany Martin, a 5-5 forward, Amy Todd, a 5-8 forward, and Hannah Resler, a 5-4 point guard, are all juniors who lettered last season.
Kym Arthur, a 5-5 guard, is a junior who did not play last season.
Martin is the top returning scorer at 5.5 points per game.
"Other than Arthur, our juniors have quite a bit of varsity experience," said Stevens. "Six of our seven juniors and seniors know what I expect and how hard it takes to play on the varsity.
"We lost a lot of our scoring from last year. And because of that, our veteran players will have to step up and score more this year, as well as continue to get the job done on the defensive end."
LibbyTarr and Lenzy Hutchison make up the sophomore class.
"Libby is a hard worker," Stevens said of the 5-5 forward. "She was the most improved player on the junior varsity last year. That was well deserved and I don't see any drop off in her work ethic and attitude. She did play in a couple of varsity games last year.
"Lenzy is a 5-6 forward. She did not play last year and currently has a leg injury and is trying to make her way back."
Stevens also is excited about his freshmen class, which includes Amanda Butler, Kelsey Fleener, Katie Morguson, Katie Igel, Miranda Blocher, Abbi Shell, Lauren Miller and Lexy Burleson.
"We have 17 players and eight of them are freshmen," said Stevens. "We have a very strong freshmen class.
"They have spent a lot of time this spring and summer learning our system."
Stevens said that all five starting positions are wide open every day.
"There are no spots that are guaranteed," he said. "Seniors and juniors can end up on the jv and the sophomores and freshmen can end up on the varsity.
"Many of our younger players can challenge for varsity spots."
The Lady Thunderbirds will no longer play Bloomington South, Bedford North Lawrence and Shoals. Those have been replaced by Washington, Trinity Lutheran and Cascade.
"We lost three very competitive teams, but replaced them with three very competitive programs," said Stevens. "Washington is always good. Trinity Lutheran was sectional champs last year and Cascade was in the semistate two years ago."
He added that Sullivan will be the favorite in the local Class 2A Sectional, this year hosted by the Lady Arrows.
Stevens also said the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference will be more wide open this year.
"Our goal is go out every single night and compete," he said. "I am very proud of these girls.
"You want to have a winning season, win conference and win the sectional. We currently have the (Greene County) Keg and hope to keep it as well. We are looking forward to starting the season."
|NO.||NAME HT. POS. GR|
|1||Hannah Resler||5-4 G 11|
|2||Lenzy Hutchison||5-6 F 10|
|3||Brittany Martin||5-5 F 11|
|13||Abbi Shell||5-3 G 9|
|15||Amanda Butler||5-6 F 9|
|5||Brooke Butler||5-3 G 12|
|34||Kym Arthur||5-5 G 11|
|12||Libby Tarr||5-5 F 10|
|5||Miranda Blocher||5-5 F 9|
|31||Katie Igel||5-5 F 9|
|20||Amy Todd||5-8 F 11|
|30||Lauren Miller||5-4 G 9|
|22||Sierra New||5-6 F 11|
|23||Alex Dubois||5-5 F 12|
|11||Kelsey Fleener||5-6 F 9|
|33||Katie Morguson||5-6 F 9|
|24||Lexy Burleson||5-6 F 9|
Coach: Zack Stevens (22-25, two seasons).
Varsity assistant: Hannah Cobine.
JV coach: Aaron Buskirk.
Managers: Tia Wagner, Sarah Lucas.