Posted: Thursday, 15 November 2012 5:06PM

Spokane girls return four starters

Springfield, Mo. (  -- The Spokane Lady Owls have four starters back this season. Unfortunately for the Lady Owls, that figures also matches their win total from last season (4-21 overall).

But a productive summer has second-year head coach Tom Colvin feeling optimistic as Spokane prepares for its season opener Nov. 19 at home against Hurley.

“I think we had a good summer from the standpoint that we are starting to find out what it takes to be a good basketball team,” Colvin said. “The summer showcased our strengths and weaknesses. It’s important for our girls to understand that the season is a marathon, and we will have to work hard every day to get better, especially with the type of schedule we play year in and year out.”

The Lady Owls will need to replace the production of Kendra Vernatti, an all-conference and all-district guard who is now playing at NAIA William Woods.

“Kendra was a three-year starter and a leader for our team,” Colvin said. “We will miss her competitiveness and more importantly her leadership down the stretch for a young team.”

Spokane brings back three players who averaged over 7 points per game:  senior Tayler Murray (5’8”, 7.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg), junior Ryleigh Maples (5’6”, 7.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and junior Kylie Wright (5’8”, 7.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Wright started three games for Spokane before a knee injury ended her season.

“She can play both inside and outside and her versatility will be a key for us,” Colvin said.

Murray has steadily improved during her time in the program and Colvin feels she could become the team’s best player this winter.

Maples joins Cassidy Sands (5’8”, 3.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) as a second-year starter. Colvin said Spokane will need Maples and Sands to go from role players to scorers.

Varsity newcomers could include Keylee Brown, described by Colvin as the team’s top JV player last season, and Jereyn Denton. Five-foot-10 freshman Sabrina Lator could also see varsity minutes.

Spokane’s deep district field includes Marionville (Class 2 3rd place last season), Marion C. Early (Class 3 last season), and a Crane team many view as the favorite to win the Southwest Central League.

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Ava 9, Mt. Grove 8

Ava won the battle of SCA unbeatens with a walk-off sac fly.

Pictures: Southwest 10, Purdy 8

Southwest claims the Ozark 7 championship.

Pictures: Central vs. Glendale tennis

The Falcons and Bulldogs met at Cooper on Wednesday.
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