The Fairfield Lady Lions have high hopes for this season with an experienced group of aggressive starters that coach Chad Hamilton hopes will carry them even further than they went last year.
“We made it to district semifinals last season,” Hamilton said. “Our goal is to take it a step further and advance to district finals.”
With aggressive returning starter Grace Shope already leading the team in scoring this season, the Lady Lions have a good chance at meeting their goals, Hamilton said.
“She led us last season in a number of categories, including scoring and rebounding,” the coach said of Shope.
Hamilton said Brianna Barnes and Blake Adams also have great scoring and rebounding potential, and Carly Arnold and Alexis Tate will pressure and handle the ball well.
“We have a number of talented players, and don’t necessarily have a set starting lineup,” he said. “The lineup each night will depend on who we are playing and who is playing well.”
Hamilton said his team is returning this year with valuable experience and a good chance for more offensive productivity.
“I believe we have more scoring options than we did last season, specifically with outside shooting… We only had one senior last season, so now we have an experienced group I expect to be competitive every night. I hope we’ll be in contention for a league championship in our division,” he said.
Before that happens, the Lady Lions have to make improvements on offense and defense, Hamilton said.
“We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, limiting our opposition’s rebounding and shooting the ball more effectively,” he said. “We also need to defend against penetration more effectively.”
Hamilton said he hopes his more aggressive starters can keep themselves balanced this season.
“We have girls that go hard,” he said, “and because of that, we get into foul trouble. We have to find a balance.”
David Wright is the sports editor for The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at 937-402-2570.