DUGGER -- They likely won't contend for a sectional title. But maybe, just maybe the Union Lady Bulldogs can improve on what they did last year.
Last year it was five wins, this year head coach Benji Boyd says things are primed for that and maybe more.
"We won five games last year," Boyd said. "I think if we improve on that by a game or two, we'd be much improved.
"I hope we improve on our five wins, if we got to .500 it would be a major accomplishment."
With that in mind, he's optimistic that things are starting to turn around for the good for his team.
"So far I've been encouraged," he said. "I've been cautiously optimistic."
While it's still too early to tell how things will translate when the team actually takes to the floor, Boyd said the improvements are noticeable.
"It seems like we're a little more well rounded than we have been inside and outside," Boyd said. "Also maybe a player or two more might be able to put the ball in the basket once awhile."
He says things are looking up throughout the lineup. With a combination of an influx of new players and the return of several from last year, the outlook is promising.
"The post players have gotten better, the guards have gotten better," He said. "Hannah Sullivan will help a little bit."
The transfer from Linton-Stockton adds some depth and at least junior varsity experience. And Boyd says the transition to a new program is going nicely.
"She's showing a little promise," he said. "It's taking a little while to get her used to the way we do things here and getting her up to speed on the things we like our kids to do."
Two returnees who skipped volleyball and have shown improvement in basketball skills are Hallie Smith and Cali Hale.
Throw in the natural progression of Autumn Secrest, Hannah Rennick, Korissa Jobe, Conner Kendall and Kolbi Reynolds and Boyd hopes the growth will be contagious.
"When you throw them all together I think collectively we'll be much better," he said.
When you ask where the most cause for optimism lies, he quickly refers to scoring on the inside, something that has been streaky at best over the last couple of seasons.
"Last year we were able to get it into the post a lot of times and not get any points out of it," he said. "But I think Kolbi and Autumn improved significantly and Hannah Rennick has improved significantly.
"I think with those three better in the post we can get our inside game going as well as our guard game."
Speaking of guards, Jobe will likely take the point while Hallie Smith will be the other guard.
Hannah Sullivan will also be on the wing and will give Boyd a needed shooter.
Hale will play more guard he says.
"Two years ago she played nothing but post," he said. "Then last year she played some guard. We had so many injuries to our guards that she had to play guard.
"This year it looks like she may play more guard than post."
With all of that in mind Boyd feels versatility may be his team's strong suit but stopping the other team may be a problem again this year.
Not because his team is any weaker, it's just that a lot of the teams his squad lines up against are taller and a little quicker.
To add another layer to that, he doesn't have enough players to imitate the opposition's quickness -- or size -- in practice.
"We practice against our own," he said. "We're not very big and we're not very quick. We practice against our own and we go into these first few games not being familiar with the quickness or size of the other team."
Things get underway for the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday, Nov. 8 when they travel to Cloverdale for a 6 p.m. contest.
2012-13 Union Lady Bulldogs
Player Ht. Gr. No. Pos.
Hallie Smith 5-7 Jr. 21 G
Conner Kendall 5-2 Sr. 23 G
Cali Hale 5-4 Jr. 22 G/F
Korissa Jobe 5-2 So. 5 G
Autumn Secrest 5-7 Jr. 4 F
Hannah Rennick 5-9 So. 11 F
Hannah Sullivan 5-6 Jr. 32 G
Keeley Brenden 5-9 Fr. 20 F
Aiyana Maze 5-4 Fr. 12 F
Kolbi Reynolds 5-7 So. 25 C
Head coach: Benji Boyd (41-71, six seasons).
Assistant coach: Brooke French.
UNION LADY BULLDOGS
|Nov. 8||at Cloverdale||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 12||at Oblong (Ill.)||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 13||Eastern Greene||6 p.m.|
|Nov. 15||at Eminence||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 29||at White River Valley||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 1||Bloomfield||10:30 a.m.|
|Dec. 3||at Washington Catholic||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 4||at Shoals||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 6||at North Central||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 10||Palestine-Hutsonville (Ill.)||6:30 p.m.|
|Dec. 13||at Clay City||6 p.m.|
|Dec. 26||at Red Hill Invitational||TBA|
|Dec. 27||at Red Hill Invitational||TBA|
|Jan. 8||Sullivan||6 p.m.|
|Jan. 10||at Linton-Stockton||6 p.m.|
|Jan. 17||at North Daviess||6 p.m.|
|Jan. 19||Robinson (Ill.)||11:30 a.m.|
|Jan. 21||Shakamak||6 p.m.|
|Jan. 26||at North Vermillion||10:30 a.m.|
|Jan. 28||Medora||6:30 p.m.|