2012-13 Prep Basketball: South Rowan girls preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
LANDIS — In Jarrod Smith’s three seasons as South Rowan’s girls basketball coach, the Raiders have won six, eight and 10 games. Expect the total to increase if all the Raiders live up to their billing.
“The playoffs are next,” Smith stressed of the current goal. “We plan to contend with every team we play.”
Smith says that even though he only has three seniors, with only two having played. But he has talented juniors and a sophomore class as good as anyone’s, starting with all-conference and all-county Avery Locklear.
A sharpshooting guard, she was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman last year at 16.1 and scored 91 points in her last four games, including dropping 30 in a win over East Rowan. She hit double figures in 24 of 26 games. Her season high was 31 against West Iredell. Smith knows he’ll get that same type of output this season, but he has asked for more.
“We’ve talked about the leadership role,” Smith said. “It was hard last year because she was a freshman and we had five, six seniors. “It wasn’t something she had to do.”
Locklear’s scoring was so prolific, it was easy to forget the 5-foot-8 star also averaged seven assists and eight rebounds.
“She can do it all,” Smith said. “She managed to score and get everyone else involved. And she’s improved. But she won’t have to do it all by herself.”
That’s because of the other sophomores who were on jayvee last year, winning a conference championsihp under the direction of Hunter Fuller. It’s the same group that helped Locklear dominate in middle school. Now, they’re back together.
Caroline Hubbard, Sylvetta Bost, Cassidy Chipman, Beth Ann Martin and Kayla McClendon will all be counted on.
“The best thing you can say about the tenth-grade class is, they don’t like to lose,” Smith said. “If they do, they want to get better so it won’t happen again.”
Smith said of 5-9 wing Chipman, “She’s probably as gifted an offensive player as we have. She can finish after contact. She can take it to the basket or shoot it outside. A lot of people don’t know about her, but offensively, she can give a lot of big things.”
Bost is a 5-foot waterbug and Hubbard is a 5-7 guard.
“Bost can handle the ball,” Smith said, “and she’ll be the fastest girl on the court. She can take a lot of the ballhandling from Avery’s hands. Hubbard is a very good defensive player and rebounder. She is full speed all the time.”
Martin reminds Smith of Alexa Allison.
“She’s a lockdown defensive player,” he said. “We’ll put her on the best 3-point shooter and shut her down.”
McClendon, a post player, has worked herself into a varsity role.
“She has a nice, little jump shot and I’m looking for her to give us a spark off the bench,” Smith said.
Smith has much more than just a sophomore class.
Lynsey Corriher, a 5-10 junior forward, can do it all too and could have a breakout year. She should increase her 6.5 average. She showed flashes of scoring brilliance last year with games of 17 and 16 points.
“She can score, she can rebound and she can slash to the basket,” Smith praised. “Lynsey’s excited about playing. She knows she has to be an inside force.”
Kacie Stamey, a 5-3 junior, had a good enough Christmas tournament last year after being pulled up from jayvee that she stayed with the varsity, scoring 10 points against West Iredell and eight against Statesville.
“She’s a pretty good shooter and we’re looking to get her spotted up behind the 3-point line,” Smith said. “When she pump-fakes, she can take it to the hole.”
With Kayla Corriher graduated, Rachel Honeycutt, a 5-10 junior, will be counted on underneath.
“Rachel is one of the girls who worked the hardest in the summer,” Smith said. “She truly wants to be a big contributor..”
Two other seniors are 5-7 guard Ashlyn Coley, a four-year Raider, and 5-8 Alisha Davis.
“Coley’s a hustling player every team needs,” Smith said. “She’ll get on the floor and she’ll take a charge. She’s the vocal leader of the seniors. She puts her heart and soul into it.”
Davis is a rebounding machine, according to her coach, who adds, “Her job is to rebound and get the ball out to the guards. Don’t be surprised when she gets 10, 12 rebounds.”
South gave up 51 points per game last year and Smith says the defense has to improve. Offense should be no problem.
“We’ll work off transition and we’ll be pretty tough to handle,” he said.
As far as that elusive playoff spot, this could definitely be the year.
“We’re always right there on the edge,” Smith said. “We played some good games last year that we could’ve won, like North Iredell. We’ve got to get over that hump. I don’t know how long it will take to get in stride but when they figure it out, they’ll be fun to watch.”
Fun? South proved that on Monday in its opener against Northwest Cabarrus, putting 85 points on the board.
And Locklear. She had a pretty good first game. How about 43 points?
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