By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Willow Springs picked up five more wins than the previous season and ended with an 18-10 record last season, falling in the second round of district play to MVBT-Liberty. Judy Tilley returns for her third year at the helm, ready to build on last year.
“We lost good players from last year, but we have many girls that are willing to fill those roles and give it their all for each other,” said Tilley.
Graduated players include all-district and all-conference guard Sydney Miller, post player Shyanne Figley, and guards Alexa Fredrick and Madison Porter.
The Lady Bears are focused on team goals, such as continued tenacity on both sides of the ball, but they have a natural chemistry and camaraderie that contributes to success on the court. “We spent a lot of time together this summer playing basketball,” said Coach Tilley. “We went swimming, held a lock-in, and just got to know one another. I love these kids.”
Darcy Poynter will be a new contributor for the Lady Bears. She transferred from Richland last year but spent most of her season recovering from a knee injury. Now a senior with two years of varsity experience, she will be an asset on both sides of the ball.
Tessa Duddridge, senior, averaged 10 points and 2 steals per game last season. She has good court vision and is a skilled shooter and defender. Classmate Emily Scarbrough will be a tough inside defender for the Lady Bears.
Alyssa Von Allmen is a hard-working junior who will hustle for four quarters and is a skilled defender. She put up 9.5 points and grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game in 2018-19 and has put in the work to recover from a shoulder injury.
She stepped into the role of point guard in her freshman debut, and Ashlyn Jones shined as she directed the offense and earned 9 points and 2 steals per game. “She did a great job controlling the tempo and setting up the offense,” said Coach Tilley of the sophomore. “She brings a lot to our team and will continue to get better.”
Sophomore Chloe Chafin is a high-energy player who can cause chaos for her opponent and has worked to develop her offensive skills. Fellow sophomore Keena Lowe is “a physical force in the paint,” per her coach.
Newcomers include Madison McDaniel, junior, and Kenzie Cox, senior, who have each worked hard in the summer to step up their game. Olga Sanz is a junior forward and new to the district, and is expected to add to the Lady Bears’ depth.
“This team is special because they believe in each other and are not jealous of their teammates’ success,” said Coach Tilley. “They are more focused on the team instead of the individual stats. They play hard and are willing to work hard.”
“As a coach, it is a privilege to coach girls that want to win, and it does not matter who scores the points as long as at the end of the game, we are on top,” she added.
The Lady Bears open their season November 25 at West Plains.