2016-17 basketball preview: Bradleyville Girls

By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

The Bradleyville Lady Eagles ended last season with a 22-6 record, the best finish for the team in the history of the program, as well as the second district title in school history. In her fourth year at Bradleyville, head coach Autumn Thomas looks to improve upon last year’s achievements.

“We have set our goals high once again for this season,” said Thomas. “We worked really hard over the summer and spent a lot of time team-building and learning to work together as a team. When you lose four key players to your program, that is some big shoes for others to fill, and working hard in the summer helps fill those shoes.”

Those four key graduated players were starting guards Casey Ridings and Kylie Winkles, guard Mariah Clemans, and starting post Emily Todd.

The Lady Eagles return floor general Kourtney Shipley, who averaged 22.9 points per game, making her one of the area’s top scorers. The all-district, all-conference, and all-state player nailed 84 three-pointers last season, dished out 4 assists per game and had 82 total steals and 86 rebounds.

Scoring 30 or more in seven games last season, including a 38-point game in the district championship, she should quickly reach the 1,000 point milestone. She currently has 877 points – 641 of them last season – as she begins her junior season.

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Junior forward Dorian Hayes, 5’10”, is a returning starter who averaged 10. 4 ppg and 8.2 rebounds and was awarded second team all-conference and all-district last season. She’s an inside player who can rebound and defend well.

Sophia Meltke saw a lot of playing time last season as a sophomore, putting up 3.8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds per game. “Sophia has a great sense for the ball and will be a starter, filling our post position,” said Thomas.

Sophomores Ericka Cook and Anna Turner both had varsity playing time last season. Ericka is an aggressive rebounder and Anna is the team’s best defender and a great outside shooter, according to Coach Thomas.

Kyiah Trent is the only senior on the team, with last year her third season of basketball and her first year on the varsity level.

Three freshmen will see a lot of varsity time: Emily Williams, Gracie Shipley, and Taylor McHaffie.“The freshmen added to our returners will make us a team to be reckoned with once again,” said Coach Thomas.

The Lady Eagles play their best game when intensity is high and the pace is fast, so they will push the ball up the floor and look for the shot. “We have five very quick starters this season that all have the ability to take it to the basket and/or shoot outside,” said Thomas. “We have two very quick guards this season that will make it rough on the opponent’s ball handlers. We also have three bigs, which we have never had before, that will make it difficult for our opponents in the paint.” They also plan to improve on defending the three-point shot after giving up 96 treys to their opponents last season.

The Lady Eagles will make their first appearance on November 4 at the Sparta Jamboree alongside Sparta, Bakersfield, and Ava, and will open their regular season at home versus Blue Eye on November 22.

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