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They may be young, but don't count Lady Cats out

Front row: (from left) Allysa DeLong. Second row: (from left) Sam Myers, Michelle Gilmore, Kelsey Harrison, Head Coach Al Poynter, Assistant Coach Jim Sterba, Sam Murphy, Emma Kimmel, Cassie Edgemon. Third row: (from left) Lindsey Lewis, Maddy Line, Shelby Davis, Mikaela Parrish, Miranda Murphy. (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010 - The varsity girls basketball team is young this season. In fact, they might be one of the youngest, or the youngest team in the Oakland Activities Association.

But don't count them out.

"I think for us it is how quickly our young players get a feel for just the varsity level in general -- the expectations, the pace and the speed of the game," said head coach Al Poynter.

According to Poynter, this year's team has everything that a coach looks for in players – energy, a willingness to play and coachable – and that should help make the transition to the OAA from the Flint Metro League much smoother.

Poynter said the biggest difference between the two leagues is the OAA is going to be balanced across the league better than the FML.

"There won't be any nights off for anyone," he said. He added that the OAA teams were going to be a little bigger and more athletic than most of the FML teams.

Even though this is the first year in a new league, it comes with a new set of opponents to figure out. Poynter believes the Wildcats will be able to hold their own.

"We will be a tough out because we will scrap and get after it," he said. He said that once they figure the league out and begin to overcome their youth, the team could "go a long way."

One huge advantage Poynter sees is that the Wildcats will be able to be flexible on both the offensive and defensive side of the court.

"I think we have a number of girls that can play at least two positions on offense and just about everybody can play more than one position on defense," Poynter said.

The girls will be led by captains Shelby Davis and Sam Murphy.

Davis, a sophomore, is the first sophomore to be a captain under Poynter.

He said that she is the team's most versatile player, capable of playing three positions on offense and defending all five positions on defense.

According to Poynter, he never has to worry about the effort that he is going to get from Murphy.

"She works hard, competes and picks things up quickly. She does a lot of little things well," he said.

The Wildcats scoring threat is going to come from senior Mikela Parrish.

"Mikela's biggest thing is that she commands our opponents attention because she can get position inside and score out to the three point line," Poynter said. "She is one of those types of players that when our opponents prepare for us, they are going to know about her and that is going to open things up for everyone else."

Poynter is also counting on the increased efforts of juniors Sam Myers and Alyssa DeLong, who were on varsity as sophomores last year, and sophomore Kelsey Harrison.

"They all bring some different things, but they all are basically good hard-working kids who have different strengths and bring a lot to the table," he added.

The girls will open the season on Friday, Dec. 3 at home against Brandon.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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