EIDSON – Young and inexperienced, the 2022-23 Clinch girls’ basketball program will be all about improving fundamentals and gaining experience and knowledge.
“With our girls, it’s going to be a rebuilding year,” said Clinch girls head coach Ginger Johnson, who is assisted by Josh Bowlin.
“Our true goal this year is to get their ball-handling skills improved, shooting percentages up and just work on the basics throughout the year,” Johnson said.
“That’s the main goal because we’ve got a lot of building to do. They’ve come up from middle school and haven’t had as much playing time as we’d like. They’ve got a lot to work on,” she said.
The Lady Wildcats weren’t terribly experienced last season.
“We lost one senior, Tori Fant,” Johnson said. She was our main ball handler. She was a leader on the court.”
“She was a good player,” Bowlin added.
“This year we have one junior, Madison Lyons,” Johnson said. “We’re looking for her to lead and show these girls what to do while they’re out there. So, she’s got a lot on her shoulders this year. We’ve kind of told her that we know she’s new to this, as well, so we just want her to go out there and be a good leader while she’s on the court.”
Joining Lyons are six underclassmen: Summer Green, Haley Bloomer, Abby Greene, Peyton Kelley, Adriyanna Cave and Jolie Johnson.
“We’ve got one junior, four sophomores and two freshmen,” Johnson said. “It’s a very young team, for sure.”
Interest has increased in the K-through-12 school’s basketball programs, however, as evidenced by the increased numbers on the high school and middle school level. The high school team is up to seven from five players, while the middle school boasts 11 members.
“We look for our middle school to feed us some good talent next year,” Johnson said. “So that’s going to be a plus for us in the future. If we can build this year and get our girls comfortable being on the court and doing what they need to do, then we expect that to also help us when our middle school moves up next year.”
The two girls teams don’t work together during the season.
“We don’t really mess with the middle school until they finish their season,” Johnson said. “Then we bring them into practices at the end of their season so that they get a little bit of experience before the new year.”
However, the two high school teams do work together during the season.
“As far as practicing together, Josh usually has the boys and girls high school teams in here practicing at the same time,” Johnson said.
“We do have boys and girls that practice together,” Bowlin said. “But there are some drills that we’ll break up and put girls on one side and boys on the other side. But we do scrimmage them together at times.”
That allows some 5-on-5 practice for the girls’ team until relief arrives from the middle school team next year.
“So, we’re really excited about that,” said Johnson, who has set achievable goals in the interim for her inexperienced squad, whom she’d like to see persevere through the season.
“I’d like to see them improve their ball-handling skills and then their shooting percentiles,” Johnson said. “That would be my goal.”
The Lady Wildcats begin their home season Monday against Christian Life Academy. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.