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Holy Innocents’ girls maintain undefeated status
by Greg Oshust
January 30, 2014 04:04 PM | 8790 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / Lexii Cassell has helped lead the Holy Innocents’ girls to a 19-0 record as of Tuesday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / Lexii Cassell has helped lead the Holy Innocents’ girls to a 19-0 record as of Tuesday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / Holy Innocents’ player Sydney Long drives to the basket during practice.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / Holy Innocents’ player Sydney Long drives to the basket during practice.
Coming off a trip to the Class A private school state girls’ basketball semifinals a year ago, expectations were high for Holy Innocents’ as it entered the 2013-14 season.

The Lady Bears have certainly lived up to those lofty hopes so far with a perfect 19-0 overall and record and 7-0 mark in Region 5A as of Tuesday.

While Holy Innocents’ coach Tony Watkins is pleased with how the season has gone so far, he said there is still room for improvement.

“We’re very excited about where we are,” Watkins said. “I think we definitely have a great group of girls — they’re talented and they like each other and play well together. But, to be honest, we’re still not satisfied. I think our girls can play better and I think they can play harder and think they can get tougher. I don’t think we have peaked yet.”

In addition to sitting atop the Region 5A standings, Holy Innocents’ was also second in last week’s Class A private school girls’ basketball power ranking — sitting only behind defending state champion St. Francis.

The Lady Bears have been nothing short of dominant so far, outscoring their opponents by an average of 66-35 and winning all but one game by double-digit margins.

Holy Innocents’ has accomplished all of this with a young team that features five sophomores and four freshmen on its roster.

Depth has been a key component to the Lady Bears’ success, with most of their roster contributing in a significant way.

“We got a lot of depth,” Watkins said. “We’ve got several kids who have played a lot of minutes. I think we have six kids who are averaging six points or more and that definitely helps, so we’re spreading the wealth.”

Freshman Khayla Pointer has played a big role in the team’s perfect record, with the 5-foot, 9-inch guard leading the team in scoring with 14.1 points a game.

“Khayla is a natural with the ball in her hands,” Watkins said. “She’s a shot maker and she’s shooting almost 56 to 57 percent from the field, from the guard position. She makes tough shots, but she also makes the other players on our team better and that’s what makes her special.”

Chelsea Zoller, a 5-9 sophomore guard, is averaging 11.4 points a game, while 6-2 forward Lexii Cassell — the lone senior on the team and a Murray State signee — has 10.6 points per contest and is leading the team with 7.6 rebounds per game.

The Lady Bears have also been boosted by the recent return of 6-2 sophomore center Erika Cassell, Lexii’s sister who missed the first two months of the season while recovering from a torn ACL.

Holy Innocents’ faces its biggest challenge yet when it hosts St. Francis in a battle of the top two ranked teams among the Class A private school girls Saturday.

“They’re very deep,” Watkins said. “They have several good guards and a 6-4 girl in the middle and I think it will be a great test for us to go up and play another really good team.”

While the Lady Bears are certainly looking like a strong state title contender at this point, Watkins said there still is work that needs to be done.

“I love this team, but they can get better and that’s the honest truth,” Watkins said. “They’re good now, but I still don’t think we’ve peaked and I still don’t think that we’ve clicked yet.”

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