Posted: Sunday, 18 November 2012 8:53PM

Purdy girls look to fill hole left by Roller

Springfield, Mo. (  -- Purdy finished 24-6 last year after falling to the eventual third-place finishing Marionville Comets to end the season.

There will be a lot of new features to this year’s Eagles as Purdy begins this season with a new coach and without graduated star Addy Roller.

Eli Ernst’s biggest job in his new season will be replacing Roller’s 27.5 points, 5.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game from last season. Roller, who now plays for Division II Wayne State, will have her number retired during the Dec. 21 game against Mt. Vernon.

“There is no hiding the fact that we lost some key players from last year’s roster,” Ernst said. “However the girls we have this season are talented and are excited to embrace their new roles. This season will be a year of learning for us. We expect to compete but we know our success is tied to how quick we learn about each other and a new system of basketball.”

There are some key holdovers from last season’s team in a pair of seniors and sophomores.

Mattie White and Katie Hughes will befactors down low in the senior seasons. White, a 5’9 forward, averaged 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season on her way to All-Conference and District honors. Hughes, a 6’1 center, averaged 5.1 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks per game last season on her way to All-Conference honors.

These two seniors are going to be important cogs for the Eagles this season.

“We have two very talented seniors this season who have been here before and we will need to draw from their experience. It will be imperative that we are patient but not passive with our leadership,” Ernst said.

Billie House and Jayse Henderson are the two sophomores returning. House, a 5’7 forward, chipped in 3.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season.

Much of what the Eagles do this year will have its genesis on the defensive end.

“We plan to be a defensive minded team. We want our defense to not only contain our opponents from scoring but generate scoring for us,” Ernst said.

Other players to watch for the Eagles this season will be sophomore Kat Hughes and the freshman trio of Courtney White, Andrea Humphrey and Desirie Ennis.

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