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2012-13 BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Tiger girls welcome new coach

November 28, 2012
Bardstown High School

2012-13 BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Tiger girls welcome new coach 

Bardstown girls' basketball team profile

By Peter W. Zubaty, Sports Editor

Jamie Neal’s first head coaching job could be a challenging one.

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Peter W. Zubaty
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Neal, who takes over the Bardstown girls’ basketball program after a stint as an assistant at Bowling Green, inherits a roster filled with youth and athleticism, but short on height.

Neal said the key is for the Tigers, who went 11-18 last year, to use their speed to their advantage.

“We are going to look to get up and down the floor and fast break if we can,” she said. “Definitely, size is kind of universal — we’re across-the-board the same size. But we’re definitely going to be tough defensively.”

The Tigers graduated three of their top four scorers from last season, and their would-be top returning scorer, eighth-grader Shyla Calbert, transferred to Nelson County. As a result, points figure to be at a premium.

Freshman BreAsia Spalding got some valuable playing time last year as an eighth-grader, and is the team’s top returning scorer at 3.2 points per game. Next on the list is senior point guard Karis Rogers, generally a pass-first floor general who chipped in 2.9 points per game last year.

Rogers — one of six seniors but the only one who played varsity last season — said she welcomes the expanded role and has tried to be an encouraging force for her team as they figure out their new coach.

“So far it’s been pretty good adjusting” to the coaching change, senior Karis Rogers said. “It’s kind of hard, because we’ve been used to one style of basketball for a long time, and now we’re going to have to learn new plays and a new way of playing.”

Also heavy in the mix is junior Kasia Stone and freshman Shatonda Calbert, both of whom saw some varsity time last season.

In the post, look for sophomores Jazz Kimberland and Alexis Hurst and senior Brianna Smalley to figure prominently.

“I have a good core who do have some experience and who played with me this summer,” Neal said. “So they know what my expectations are coming in.”

Neal said the team has been working a lot in practice on shooting the ball.

“We’re just not real good shooters at this point,” she said. “Definitely, I’m looking for a lot of our points to be off turnovers.”

Rogers said overcoming those issues will take a concerted effort.

“If we work hard, we should be fine,” Rogers said.

Neal said there has been a big turnout during the preseason, with more than 25 girls coming out for basketball.

“It’s been very exciting,” she said. “I’ve got a great group of girls to work with.”

Rogers said it is a big change for her after playing for former coach Paul Stone for several years.

“This is my first time having a girl coach in any sport,” Rogers said. “They’re different than males, but different in a good way.”

Neal said she has been welcomed by her new team.

“They’re all working hard and buying into my system,” she said.

The Tigers opened their season Monday with a 73-20 road loss to Oldham County and were in action after press time Tuesday at John Hardin. Their home opener is Thursday against North Bullitt.

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