By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The first year under a new coaching staff is always tough for a young team, and the Marshfield Lady Jays were no exception last season. Under first-year coach Katie Pritchard, the Lady Jays finished 8-18.
However, the team showed promise at the end of the season, winning four of its final six, including a first-round district victory over Hillcrest (46-43). As the Lady Jays enter their second year under Pritchard’s guidance, the learning curve should not be as steep anymore. The players and coaches each should have a better understanding of each other this season.
“I am very excited for this season,” noted Pritchard, a standout player in her day at both Waynesville High School and Drury University. “This is a group with great potential and a hunger to get better. We will have a lot of athleticism and quickness at every position that will allow us to play a fast-paced brand of basketball. I think we can come out and compete every night with the teams on our schedule.”
Pritchard will look to consistency from her group of top returners: Dani Brewer, Addison Crider, Alliyah Joiner, and Kori Cromer.
Brewer, a 5-foot-7 guard who averaged 6 points per game last winter, enters her senior year and will help anchor the point guard duties for the Lady Jays.
“Dani is a solid guard who has the ability to get to the basket and hit shots from the outside,” Pritchard said.
Brewer will be joined by both Joiner and Cromer in the backcourt. Joiner, now a junior, averaged 7 points and 3 boards last year. Cromer missed most of her freshman season with an injury but is looking forward to playing a role for Marshfield this season.
“Alliyah is extremely athletic,” stated Pritchard. “She can blow by most defenders with her quick first step. She is a game-changer on the defensive end with her ability to guard the ball and has quick hands. Kori is a dynamic guard who can score from all levels. She sees the floor well and does a great job getting her teammates involved.”
In the front court, Marshfield will be led by the play of Crider, a 5-foot-10 senior, who posted 6 points and 3 rebounds per game last year. Crider has committed to play volleyball at Central Methodist University next fall and is one of the more athletic players on the roster.
“Addison is our vocal team leader,” Pritchard said. “She brings us energy and direction on the floor. She has a high motor and is a great rebounder.”
Gone from last year are guards Alexis Moon and Camryn Smith and forward Haliegh Clift. All three girls graduated in the spring, leaving playing time up for grabs at a few positions for the Lady Jays this season.
Along with its returners, Marshfield will need contributions from a group of newcomers to help make the 2019-20 season a more competitive one. Combined with the efforts of its returning pieces and the newcomers, the Lady Jays look to make the upcoming season a fun one.