GRAFTON—The Grafton Lady Cats basketball team began practicing recently for their upcoming 2019-20 season and so far, fifth-year head coach Andrew Moore has liked what he has seen from his experienced squad.
“We are excited about the potential of this team as we essentially return all but one player from last year’s team,” said an optimistic Moore. “We played a lot of freshman last year on the varsity squad and I’m anxious to see how they respond with a year under their belt.”
This year’s varsity team will return eight lettermen from last season’s 8-16 squad that won their first postseason game since Moore’s 2016 squad made it to Charleston. Looking to improve on last year’s record and make another deep postseason run will be seniors Bailey Toothman, Megan Kisner, Tori Jackson, and Jocelyn Countryman, junior Bria Jacobs, and sophomores Meredith Maier, Alyssa Satterfield, and Frederique Maloley. Those eight along with junior Mia Chambers and senior Hailey Skiles will primarily make up the varsity roster. Madie Summers, Izzy Swiger, and Amber Smith should see quality varsity minutes as well.
Maier returns for her sophomore season after a stellar freshman campaign which saw her lead the team in numerous statistical categories, including scoring and rebounding. Satterfield, Maloley, Jacobs, and Chambers have also caught the eye of their head coach after just a year or two in the program.
“So far, Meredith has looked really solid on both ends of the court,” noted Moore. “Alyssa is shooting the ball extremely well right now. Fred is just a solid floor general. She may not by the flashiest player but she gets the job done and does a lot of the dirty work for us. Bria has been locked in and as focused as I’ve seen her in recent years. I’m expecting a big year out of her. Mia has shown some great promise while stepping up to play some quality varsity minutes.”
Moore has been also been pleased with the command that his veteran players have demonstrated as preseason practices and conditioning have now gotten underway.
“I’m very proud of this senior group,” stated Moore. “They have taken on a leadership role and are motivated to do well. Megan is looking very good coming off a great cross-country season. Bailey will be a force in the middle to deal with for opposing teams and has spent a lot of time in the offseason working on her mid-range game. Jocelyn and Tori are very disruptive on the defensive end. Hailey is starting to come around in her role for the team and worked hard this offseason to earn her spot. And Madie is an athletic post that has shown some bright spots early in our practices.”
Lady Cats’ assistant coach Kurtis Davis will be overseeing the JV squad again this year along with the help of another Lady Cats’ assistant coach, Gary Chambers.
Early candidates to see JV action will be Katie Scherzinger, Amber Smith, Izzy Swiger, Sydney Friend, Eva Jones, Leah Jackson, Taylor Minard, Kylie Newlon, Jordan Niggemyer, and Jada Johnson.
“We’ve been very impressed with Eva Jones at the start of this season, as she has worked hard and adapted quickly,” expressed Moore.
In addition to Davis and Chambers, the Lady Cats varsity staff will also be assisted by Coach Becky Kittle and Coach Bobby Beltner.
“I feel as if I have the best staff in the state with our knowledge and ability to effectively get the most out of the girls,” Moore added. “Coach Chambers is also leading the charge for our in-season workout program.”
The Lady Cats have a home scrimmage set for Tuesday, November 26th at 6:00pm against Trinity Christian School of Morgantown before heading down I-79 to Gilmer County on December 2nd for their second scrimmage.
Grafton will begin regular season play on December 11th against Clay Battelle in the 1st round of the Sam Bord Tournament at Scotty Hamilton Gymnasium at Grafton High School.
Tipoff for that game is slated for 8:00pm.