Posted: Thursday, 15 November 2012 5:03PM

Willard girls young but determined

Willard, Mo. (For  -- The Willard Lady Tigers basketball team is young but eager to show its strength. The team’s lone senior, Amber Percival, brings her own spark from last year’s achievement as a second team all-conference and second team all-district guard. Percival averaged 7.9 points and 3 assists per game as a junior.

The daughter of Tigers coach Mike Percival is joined by several strong returning varsity players. Shelby Barrett (jr.) and Samantha Whitman (jr.) return after the Lady Tigers’ finished 15-11 last season.

The Lady Tigers lost to Webb City in round one of last year’s district tournament. Three players graduated, including Brook Duncan (16 ppg) who signed with the SBU Bearcats.

A solid group of sophomores dominates this season’s varsity team, including forward Mallory Kurtz (5’9”), who averaged 5.4 points per game her freshman year. The Lady Tigers volleyball standout Mariah Stewart (5’9”) will strive to improve on her freshman average of 3.3 points per game from last season.

Mike Percival also expects significant varsity time from sophomores Rachel Williamson, Caitlyn Carpenter, and Chelsea Yates.

Two newcomers to Willard will bring a competitive edge. Forward Ali Perry (6’0”, soph.) and point guard Makenzie Parker (5’4”, soph.) will add their experience to the varsity squad.

Perry’s height, along with that of 6-foot forward Raven Mammah (jr.), will form an imposing defense. Junior Jelyne Shaw rounds out the Lady Tigers’ varsity lineup.

Coach Percival is focusing on building team unity.

“Our goal is to create a cohesive unit and play hard together,” he said.  

Percival came to Willard two years ago after coaching 14 years at Hartville High School.

The Lady Tigers open their season at home against the Monett Lady Cubs on November 19.

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