Cabool will be looking to climb back toward .500 this year after going 9-17 a year ago. The Lady Bulldogs will have to do so without the services of graduated double-double machine Joelle Atkins, who averaged 12.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game as a senior. Also graduated is third-leading scorer Kaitlen Beller and her 11.1 point-per-game output.
“Joelle was our defensive force. She really clogged up the middle with her unique ability to block shots,” Cabool coach Rance Beller said. “Kaitlen was that kid I could put anywhere on the floor and she would be fine. She was my leader on the floor, and we will also miss both of them as they were our leading rebounders.”
Leading scorer Katlynn Ellison does return to the fold after pouring in 18.7 points per game as a sophomore. She also chipped in 3.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game. She will look to expand on her 31 made 3-point shots from last year.
“She has worked on her outside shot more this summer,” Beller said. “I expect her to just continue to grow as a player. She was our offensive leader last year, and that won’t change this year. She is a special talent and I expect her to have and even better season this year.”
Sophomore Josie Atkins will see her role expand in a big way this year. Her 4.5 points per game are the second most among the returning players.
“Josie Atkins is probably going to be asked to step up the most,” Beller said. “She will assume the title of our inside and rebounding presence. She really played well for us this summer.”
Abigail Huerman and Adrian Fleetwood are two other returners that will have more varsity responsibility. Freshman Haily Shannon will also log some varsity minutes right away for a young squad with no seniors and just two juniors.
“We are going to have lots of people in new spots, and lots of new faces playing varsity minutes,” Beller said. “I am fully confident we will get better as the year goes on, hopefully we pick stuff up quickly. I think we will be fun to watch and if you see us play in December, come back and watch us in February I fully expect us to be better at the end of the season. Some of those improvements only come with time and experience.”
Cabool opens the season on Nov. 27 at Seymour.