|Barrier hopes busy summer leads to major improvement
By Dan Manley
Advocate Sports Editor
A busy summer that needed to be busy for the Montgomery County girls’ basketball team.
Coach Beth Barrier, entering her second year on the job, knows that 2018-2019 is going to be a year where the squad needs to enjoy significant growth.
“This is going to be a much different team,” Barrier said. “We relied so heavily on Delaney (Bromagen) last year and now that she’s gone we’ve got to have a number of players to step up and fill her shoes.”
Bromagen was the team’s primary scoring threat and now that responsibility will be passed on to a number of players.
The Lady Indians played roughly 25 games during the month of June. They hosted a camp, went to a camp at Transylvania, and then played multiple games at Wolfe County and Fleming County.
What did Barrier learn about her young team?
“Against those teams that we were competitive against, well, we won those games,” she said. “Against the teams where we weren’t ready to be competitive we didn’t seem as overwhelmed as we were.”
Barrier pointed to a win over Madison Central as an indicator of her team being ready to be more competitive this year.
“We didn’t have our entire team together at any time all summer,” she said. “Kaitlyn Barber needed to take some time off after softball, we had players working and attending camps and that was all good but we didn’t get a true look at what we might be able to put together this fall.
“It did give us a chance to play a number of the younger players. A trio of seventh graders — Hayden Barrier, Emily Williams and Allie Dillon — all had opportunities and all three according to Barrier “didn’t seem intimidated at all” by the higher level of competition.
The Lady Indians were 7-23 last year and lost 11 of their last 12 games.
Barrier will be looking for a combination of things to happen for the record to improve.
One will be the schedule, which Barrier says is much closer to her team’s current abilities which should give them a better chance at success.
“It’s definitely a more competitive schedule for us,” she said. “It’s one where we’ll have a chance to win more games and be more competitive almost every night out. We’ll look forward to being able to toughen up the schedule in the future but for right now we’ve tried to look for more teams at our age and talent level.”
Within the district the Lady Indians will be hard pressed to approach Clark County and Paris is an up and coming team while Bourbon County returns a solid group of players.
“Our challenge will be to try and improve and be competitive against Paris and Bourbon County,” she said. “We only got to go against Bourbon County for one half of a game this summer but we played well and competed with them and I hope that can carry over.”
The biggest move this summer has been for senior Mikayla Harris to move from playing a post position to the perimeter.
“She’s looked really comfortable out on the floor, handling the ball, shooting it well from the outside and taking the ball to the basket,” Barrier said. “Hopefully that can carry forward to the season.”
There should be 11 players returning this year who played in eight or more varsity games a year ago, not counting the three seventh graders who should get a chance to at least see some junior varsity time.
The junior varsity squad appears to be a really solid team with a variety of resources to pull from and that will give players a chance to move up for more varsity minutes when appropriate.
Sophomore-to-be Savannah Parker had a solid summer and has a chance to be a starter at one of the inside positions and junior-to-be Adrienne Tuttle also fits into that situation.
“Finding the right mix is going to be a real key for us,” Barrier said. “And we’ve got a number of players that will have a chance to come off the bench to play significant minutes. They just need to find their roles and understand what’s expected of them.”
The list of returnees from last season looks like this:
Senior Kaitlyn Barber—A very good athlete who seems to score in streaks. Could provide a lot of leadership and scoring punch for the Lady Indians.
Senior Makayla Harris—A real leader off the floor who seems to have a lot of scoring potential that has never manifested itself. Perhaps moving her to the perimeter will lead to a big senior year.
Senior Keeley Spencer—A player who makes a lot of plays and really understands the game but needs to eliminate turnovers to earn more playing time. Another player who could yield valuable minutes in her senior season.
Junior Bailey Cobb—Expected to be the starting point guard, she made some solid strides last year and took control during the summer games.
Junior Haley Stephens — Didn’t participate in summer workouts but should be a contributor for the Lady Indians. Another player who with another year of experience could enjoy a breakout year.
Junior Adrienne Tuttle — Only needs to be more aggressive inside and prove she can score in the low post so that her excellent outside shooting game has more chances to be a difference maker.
Sophomore Savannah Parker—Runs the floor and plays with great effort. It’s hard to figure how she won’t be in the lineup where she’ll need to be consistent and avoid foul problems to be a major impact for the team.
Sophomore Kennon Owens—A player who has a chance to be an all-region performer but it’s time for her to step up and be a consistent scorer.
Sophomore Kaylee France—Needs added strength to be a better ball handler and passer to go with her shooting ability. Should be a junior varsity mainstay and then we’ll see about her ability to move up.
Freshman Kaylan Kerns—A great competitor with a knack for the game. She simply needs to play and get stronger to be more of an impact. Probably the starter for a good junior varsity team and the back-up point guard for the varsity.
Eighth grader Alissa Cundiff—Added strength and