2011-2012 Basketball: South Rowan girls preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS ó Jarrod Smith loved watching his South Rowan girls basketball team get off to a 3-1 start last season.
He didnít love what happened next. His team went 5-13 the rest of the way, losing its last three games, missing the playoffs and finishing 8-14.
ěIt was frustrating,î the third-year coach said. ěI thought weíd be at least a 10-12-win team. We showed it sometimes.î
The only conference wins came against lowly West Iredell and Statesville. This year, the Raiders have the talent to be a factor in the North Piedmont Conference.
ěWeíre working our way up,î Smith said. ěWe wonít be satisfied with an eight-win season.î
Smith will rely on some veteran seniors, led by 5-foot-5 Lauren ěGooseî Miller, an all-conference point guard. Her 7.0 average should increase.
ěWeíre looking mostly for leadership,î Smith said. ěShe didnít have to do that last season. We need Goose to be the floor leader. Sheís a bulldog. I may even post her up.î
Senior guard Kaitlin Jones can be a big-time scorer and she proved it in last yearís NPC opener at North Iredell, when she lit it up for 14 points, her career high.
ěK.J. can break up zones,î Smith said of his 5-4 gunner. ěWhen she gets hot, she can knock it down. She has worked on her ballhandling.î
Alexa Allison is a 5-7 senior whoíll play guard and forward.
ěDefensively, sheís a lockdown player,î Smith said. ěSheís very fast and very quick. Sheís the quickest on the team.î
Kayla Corriher, a senior, could have a big year.
ěShe does all the things no one else wants to do ó play defense, take charges, dive on the floor. Sheíll surprise you with her range,î Smith said.
Lauren Register, a 5-8 junior, will get plenty of playing time, according to Smith.
ěShe has worked hard on her jump shot,î Smith said. ěShe can guard anybody from 1 to 4.î
At 5-10, sophomore Lynsey Corriher is a smart post player.
ěSheís an all-around, steady player,î Smith said. ěI figure sheíll make a big jump.î
Junior Ashley Deal, a 6-0 junior, and Rachel Honeycutt, a 5-11 inside player off jayvee, gives South some needed height.
ěDeal has long arms,î Smith said. ěShe has improved every year. Fundamentally, Honeycutt is one of the best we have. She boxes out well.î
Arielle McConneaughey is a deadly outside shooter. The 5-7 junior is in her first year.
Ashlyn Coley is a 5-6 junior, who Smith called a scrappy post player.
ěSheís the same type of player as Kayla Corriher,î he said.
Leah McCoy, a sophomore off jayvee, is the tallest Raider at 6-1. She has a good drop step and is learning how to finish.
ěSheís tall and aggressive,î Smith said.
And then, thereís 5-9 freshman Avery Locklear, who has an impressive upside after dominating at Corriher-Lipe Middle School. She can play anywhere.
ěI like the way she has stepped in,î Smith said. ěThere will be growing pains because this is a big jump. Seniors like Goose, Alexa and K.J. can help her understand what high school basketball is all about.î
One positive is that all the girls have been in Smithís system. He wants to push the tempo for the first time. South can hit the 3-pointer but it also likes the banging underneath. The Raiders should be able to get in your face defensively.
ěThey know what I expect,î he said.
And those expectations are for a season better than the 8-14 the Raiders suffered through last season.
ěThe girls have put in the time,î Smith said. ěWe expect to see it pay off.î