2016-17 basketball preview: Carthage Girls

After two sub-.500 seasons, the Carthage Lady Tigers’ basketball team enjoyed a 15-10 season last year, culminating with a trip to the district title game where they eventually fell to Carl Junction.

This season, the Lady Tigers will face some new challenges.  The program will be reclassified from Class 4 to Class 5, and that transition will be made without star graduate Maya Williams.

Williams averaged nearly 21 points and 10 rebounds per game while at Carthage.  She’ll continue her career as a freshman at Pittsburg State University in Kansas this season.

“We don’t have any one single player that we can use to replace Maya,” said Carthage head coach Chad Jones.  “She made a big difference on the offensive end and was a good rim protector when she wanted to be.  We will rely on our two seniors [Kenya] Medlock and [Kensey] Sageser to lead us and they will be supported by a large number of young and energetic sophomores to fill the void.”

Both Medlock and Sageser are returning starters from last year’s squad.  At 5’9”, Medlock averaged 13.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG as a junior last year.  Sageser is a versatile player on both ends of the floor and is a valuable defender and rebounder.

“Kenya was determined to make an impact her junior season and dedicated herself to developing her textbook-form jump shot and defensive strength and agility,” Jones said.  “She emerged as three-point threat receiving all-conference, all-district, and All-COC defensive team honors.  Several DII colleges have Kenya on their radar.”

Jones will rely on a group of sophomores to fill out the varsity roster this season alongside his two standout seniors.  Look for Kali Godfrey and Jaxsyn Anderson to highlight Carthage’s group of sophomores.

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“Kali was voted our varsity newcomer of the year last season,” said Jones.  “She is a versatile player that can step into multiple positions and execute at a high level.  She had the highest FT% on the team and makes a huge difference on the boards.  She is a tough player who wants to be on the floor and gives 110% when her name is called.

“Jaxsyn is a natural athlete.  She has the ability to do things on the floor that separate her from others with her length and strength.  She had a good summer and I see her contributing this season.”

Oddly enough, Carthage will not have any juniors on the roster this season, allowing Jones to showcase his underclassmen out of necessity.  The Lady Tigers will set out to make some noise in Class 5 in 2016-17.

“Our program is in the midst of a youth movement,” said Jones.  “We lost four seniors that did an amazing job of changing the culture within our ranks.  Our two seniors have done a nice job stepping into their leadership roles in the off season and it showed in the strides our sophomores made during that time.  Without any players in the class of 2018, there are a lot of open spots for playing time.  The players in our 2019 class are athletic and have the potential to further develop an already solid skill base, as do the incoming 2020 freshman.”