Reaching those heights will be more of a challenge for the Lady Cougars this season, however, as they enter the 2013-14 campaign with a much younger and more inexperienced lineup.
The youth has certainly showed so far for Holy Spirit Prep, which has struggled to a 1-3 start.
Guiding a team that includes six freshmen and one sophomore through the challenges of high school basketball is the main task for Holy Spirit Prep coach Jada Jordan.
“I’ve got a very young team doing it all,” Jordan said. “I’m trying to work on my young ones, I’ve got two freshmen starting and I’m just trying to get everybody together.”
The Lady Cougars have also had to deal with injuries to key players as well, with 5-foot-8 senior forward/center Meaghan Devine (ankle) and 5-8 freshman forward Jesse Zurovchak (knee) missing most of the first four games.
With her two key frontcourt players out, Jordan has had to make do with a smaller lineup.
“Those are our four [power forward] and five [center] players, my big girls,” Jordan said. “I’ve had guards playing the center and forward positions, so we’ve been totally out of whack with that.”
Finding new leadership is a priority for Jordan after losing Emily Browning and Sarah Cox to graduation.
“That’s the other thing I’ve been struggling with right now, Jordan said. “Our seniors are not used to being leaders at this point. They’re older, but they always had the younger girls over them since they’ve been freshmen. They haven’t had to be the leaders of the team, so they’re still trying to figure that out and to be able to help with the ninth- and 10th-graders.”
Picking up the slack is 5-6 senior guard Selina Kelete, a three-time All-Region 1AAA performer who has led the way with about 15 points a game.
Jordan is looking for Kelete, 5-4 senior point guard Aimee Sinks — also an All-Region 1AAA player the last three years — and 5-5 senior guard Susie Merrick to provide that veteran leadership for the young Lady Cougars.
“With Selena, they’re the core of the team,” she said.
Five-foot-6 junior forward/guard Meredith Jones and 5-5 junior guard Neala Casey are also key players.
Despite the early struggles, Jordan said she is confident that her team can contend again for the 1AAA title and another state tournament berth once her injured players heal up and her younger kids gain some more experience.
“I’m staying optimistic,” Jordan said. “Once people figure out plays and figure out what they’re supposed to be doing and we get people healthy again, we’ll be all right.”