The Whiteoak Lady ‘Cats basketball players are looking to turn things around after going just 3-20 last year and 1-12 in the Southern Ohio Athletic Conference (SHAC). Coach Mike Cooper, coming into his fourth season, thinks that this year is looking good for them.
With only one senior graduating last year and three on the team this season, the Lady ‘Cats have experience on their side. They also have a great core group of nine freshman that may see Varsity time as well.
The All-SHAC and All-District honorable mention Emma Wardlow is back as well.
“[Emma Wardlow] was our leading scorer last year and hopefully she can do that again this year.” Coach Cooper said. “I can never question Emma’s work ethic. She’s always doing something to make herself better.”
“I can say that about all the girls on the team this year.” Cooper went on to say. “There were some of my players wanting to get in and workout or shoot or run three days after our season ended last year. And when you have a group that’s willing to come in and do the extra stuff, not just the scheduled things, that’s great to see as a coach.”
Cooper thinks that his team has a good shot to compete in the league this season.
“Honestly, Fayetteville is heads and shoulders above everyone else.” Cooper said. “That being said, I think we can compete with the rest.”
Coach Cooper said that quickness and toughness will be the key to winning ball games for his girls this year.
“We don’t have a lot of size compared to other teams in the league.” the Lady ‘Cats coach said. “I do think that we can out-quick some teams though. We’ll have to use that to our advantage and utilize the press and half court traps. Our girls also have to be tougher than they have been in the past. And I think that is where that off-season work stuff will come into play. We also need to attack the basket and not settle for jump shots. We’ll have to keep the score low and work throughout the season improving our man-to-man defense.”
“As much of a struggle as it has been for this group of girls, they could have easily given up and quit.” Cooper said about his seniors this year. “They have done their part to try and change the culture of the program here. When they go in and do extra work and it pays off, younger girls will start to do it to.”
The Whiteoak Lady ‘Cats will kick off their season this Saturday November 23rd when they travel to Paint Valley. Their first home game is December12th against Ripley.