“Lainie was our main scoring threat last year and the girls looked to her to do a lot of the scoring and provide leadership for the team,” Hollister head coach Alyssa Paulsell said of the Tigers’ All-Time leading scorer.
The senior duo of Austin Welch and Shelby Ballard along with junior Jordan Pierce will be the returning players who will have to step up.
Welch averaged 5.2 points per game last season, while Ballard chipped in 5.6 points per game as a starter last season.
Pierce saw mostly junior varsity time last year, but will be battling for varsity playing time this year.
“Jordan saw significant time on junior varsity last year and played behind her older sister, Taylor, who graduated last year and played point guard for us,” Paulsell said. “She will be vying for the point guard position this year with some younger players in the mix.”
Katie Dixon, a five-foot-eight junior, will be looked to as an inside force, but can score on the outside as well. Sophomore Emilia Tuxen and the freshman duo of Halie Allred and Maddi Morgan will also be factors for Hollister this season.
There is no good way to replace a record-setting scorer like Bishop, so Hollister will focus on preventing points to help make up for some of the gap.
“We are going to play extremely tough defense,” Paulsell said. “Losing a great deal of scoring last year in Bishop, we are going to need to find a way to make up for that scoring while not allowing as many points from opponents as we did last year.”
Hollister’s success this season will be based largely upon how well the young players adjust to varsity play.
“We are going to be very young with only six upperclassmen on our roster. We are going to need to grow up fast in order to compete in a difficult Central Ozark Conference,” Paulsell said. “My expectation is that we continue to improve throughout the year and be a team to compete with by the middle of the season.”
Hollister opens the season on Nov. 19 at Blue Eye.