By Gene Phelps
Special to the Gazette
For the first time in five seasons, Ingomar will open its girls 2019-20 basketball season without three-time state champions Gara Beth Self and Lauren Thompson in the lineup.
The Lady Falcons will also miss two other starters, defensive specialist Carson Grisham and guard Ashley Forester as they return to MHSAA Class 1A competition after four seasons in 2A.
This summer’s starting lineup features senior post player Sanaa Finley, sophomore forward Camleigh Ball, junior guard Macy Hall, sophomore guard Katie Beth Hall and sophomore point guard Alexis Campbell.
“We have five returners and four freshmen,” coach Trent Adair said. “Every job is wide open. We’re trying to establish roles. That’s part of the summer and I don’t know if we’ll be able to do that. It’s going to be a process all the way up to ball season … probably during ball season.
“Very few teams return everybody, so you’ll have some new role definition every year.”
Finley started every game last season while Katie Beth Hall and Ball saw playing time during the team’s 33-4 season.
“Sanaa’s experienced, but we want her role to expand,” Adair said. “She needs to become a dependable player around the basket and a dependable scorer. Katie Beth and Camleigh played some minutes last year, but they’re basically inexperienced.
“We’re all still learning.”
Hall gives the team a perimeter threat – she hit five 3-pointers in a summer league win over Mooreville –but Adair would like some more shooters to step up.
“We’ve had some kids work pretty hard at that, trying to be better at shooting,” he said. “Shooting work never stops. Shooters are made. You can make yourself into a good shooter if you’re willing to put in the time.”
One constant in Ingomar’s summer practices and games is defensive play.
“For the most part, effort-wise, I’ve been pleased,” Adair said of his defense. “Our biggest thing is finding some scoring. We need to find some dependable scorers, especially when it comes down the stretch in a tight game.”
Ingomar also welcomes freshmen guards Mia Skelton, Lindsey Dillard and Audrey Maupin to the lineup, along with freshman post player T’niya Jones.
“We’re all inexperienced,” Adair said. “We’ve lost a lot the last two years. I like our junior high team. All options are on the table with them (moving up to varsity). We’ve done it before, we can do it again.”