Posted: Saturday, 17 November 2012 1:58PM

Ash Grove girls basketball rich with experience

Ash Grove, Mo. (For  -- The Lady Pirates shared the Mid-Lakes Conference championship with Stockton last season. That marked the first time since 1989 that Ash Grove has won or shared a conference title in girls basketball.
The Lady Pirates return to the 2012-13 season with five of last season’s starters and two top players from last year’s bench. Coach Brent Milleson is confident his team mostly made of talented juniors will make another strong showing.
"They’re a very versatile set,” said Milleson.
Six-foot forward Lakin Simmerman (jr.) has started for the Lady Pirates since her freshman year. She averaged 10 rebounds and 10 points per game last season and is a two-time all-district choice. She earned First Team All Mid-Lakes Conference last year.
Katie Skelton (5’10”, jr.) shared Simmerman’s double-double record last season. Other juniors bringing varsity experience are Abby Arico (5’6”), Halee Cashio (5’8”), Madi Johnson (5’5”), Jamie Mauss (5’9”), Erin Weinreis (5’8”).
Juniors Nicki Ogle (5’5”) and Sierrah Ballard (5’3”) will see more varsity play, as well as senior Shayla Coale (5’5”).
Freshmen Alexa Owens (5’6”) and Morgan Allred (5’4”) deliver new talent to the team.
As Milleson begins his sixth year coaching the Lady Pirates, he is emphasizing steadiness.
“We are constantly looking for consistency, trying to reach that next level of execution,” said Milleson.
The Lady Pirates took second at district last year behind Mt. Vernon, which would go on to win the state championship. The Pirates ended the season with a record of 21-8.
The Lady Pirates meet their first opponent at Lockwood on November 19. They host the Ash Grove Tournament on November 26.

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