By Chris Parker
Halfway girls basketball will be looking to climb above .500 after finishing 10-14 last year.
Things will start with sophomore Elavia Sharp. Sharp earned all-conference honors in her freshman season. She was the only freshman to be named all-conference in the Polk County League. The sophomore will look to improve on her averages of 13 points, 3.5 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.5 rebounds per game from last year.
“Elavia is a worker. She works on everything. She is quick, she can shoot, she can get to the rim, and she has a knack for scoring. I think she is such a quiet player that people don’t always recognizes her abilities right away. There were games I would look at the book at halftime and she quietly already had 10-12 points,” Halfway coach Eric Ingram said. “She has gotten better playing away from the ball. That was an adjustment last year not being the full time point guard. Working on getting to the rim and finishing, and catching the ball shot ready are things we have worked on and she has grown in both.”
Sharp will be joined by returning players Madison Higginbotham (junior guard), Kendall Morris (junior forward) and Bailey Black (sophomore forward).
Morris led that group in scoring (9.6 ppg) and rebounding (4.8 rpg).
“Kendall is a good player in the paint for us on both ends of the floor. She has an ability to get to the rim on offense and will be key for us on the boards this season,” Ingram said.
Higginbotham averaged 6.8 points, 3 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.8 assists per game last year. Her defensive ability will be key to Halfway’s success.
“Madison is a long and lanky player that is quick on both ends of the floor. Last year she had over 100 deflections on the defensive end and has a sense of where the ball is going. She will be our primary ball handler this season and help run our offense. She has an ability to score as well,” Ingram said.
Black improved throughout her freshman year and will be a bigger factor on varsity this year.
“Bailey had a good freshman campaign especially in the second half of the season last year. She is a threat in the paint but has also worked hard on handling the ball and extending her range. She will also help on the boards for us,” Ingram said.
Ingram is also excited about a group of six incoming freshmen that had a strong run in junior high.
Among that group are: Jaelyn Terrell, Hallie Rovenstine, Jaka Sharp and Annabelle Ingram. Terrell will see time at point guard this year. Rovenstine brings solid shooting to the table. Sharp is a strong and physical player. Ingram will also help handle the ball and is a strong rebounder.
The Lady Cardinals may be young with no seniors on the team, but they will have depth.
“We are very young with no seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and six freshman. However, we should be at least eight deep this year and over the past couple of season we have only been six deep. These girls love to compete night in and night out and they work very hard,” Ingram said.
He will look for his ball handlers to value each possession this year.
“We were real young las year with all of our ball handlers being freshman and sophomores. We will have more experience and ability this year. We are not very big, so rebounding will have to be a team effort every night,” Ingram said.
Overall, Ingram wants to see this group improve throughout the season and climb back above .500.
“We finished below .500 last year and 3-5 in the conference. Our youth showed some and we lost a couple of close games maybe we shouldn’t have. We know adding the freshman class is going to be a help but we also know there may be a learning curve early. We will look to compete each and every night and look to get back above the .500 mark, climb the conference ladder, and be a higher seeded team come district time,” Ingram said.
Halfway opens the season on Dec. 10 at home against Greenwood.