If there’s one key ingredient to success in sports, it’s senior leadership. And Madison County’s girls’ basketball team has that in abundance this year.
Coach Dan Lampe, whose squad finished 16-10 last year, is looking for big things from his Red Raiders this year.
“The work ethic from this group has been outstanding,” said Lampe, adding that his team has shown real hustle in practice, diving for loose balls and crashing the boards. “I attribute that to the group of seniors we have.”
Lampe said his team has a good blend of inside and outside talent. He noted that senior Nekeia Brown is a rare find in the paint.
“She is probably the strongest post player I’ve ever coached,” said Brown.
Brown will require defenses to double team her inside, which will open up shooting opportunities for the squad’s perimeter players.
The Red Raiders have some deft shooters beyond the arc too. Lampe said senior Elise Coberly “will probably lead the team in scoring this year.” She is strong from the three-point line and a good penetrator with the ball.
The coach said senior Macy Rutledge has been lights out from deep so far this year.
“Her three ball is just dropping non stop,” he said.
Lampe said senior Emmie Fouche will be the team’s primary ball handler. He said Fouche has four years of experience and knows how to run the offense.
While the seniors will lead the team, there will be capable help off the bench, too.
Lampe said Mylane Rutledge, Macy’s younger sister, is an outstanding defender.
“She has a natural instinct for defense,” said the coach. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen as good an on-ball defender as her. When we need to stop someone, we’ll put her on them.”
Lampe said Samiah Bush is his team’s “Dennis Rodman.”
“She gives us energy,” said the coach, adding that she has a knack for getting loose balls and offensive boards.
Mya Moss will play at the post/wing position.
“She is probably our most athletic player,” said Lampe. “She’s our fastest player baseline to baseline. No post player can stay with her in transition.”
Lampe said Haley Gordon will be the team’s secondary ball handler. He said she is good on defense, putting a lot of pressure on the ball.
Christian Carruth will also dress out with the varsity, but will mostly serve as the junior varsity’s primary ball handler.
Lampe said the new Region 8-AAAA will provide challenges, with Walnut Grove and Chestatee likely fielding good teams.
But he said he feels his squad has a great shot at the region title.
“Those two teams will be tough for sure, but if we play our style and our players progress as they should, I expect us to win the region,” said Lampe. “We have good team chemistry and we’re deep.”
Of course, before the Red Raiders take on any region challengers, they’ll be paired Tuesday against Cedar Shoals, a stout non-region opponent.
Lampe said the Jaguars have five or six seniors who have played together since their freshman year.
“This is the year they’ve been waiting for,” said Lampe of Cedar Shoals. “This will be a great game for us.”