Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of previews of area high school girls basketball teams.
Scott Johnson’s little girls are starting to grow up.
The Kentucky School for the Deaf girls have been a young team for years, and they would still be considered a young team by any measure. However, the Colonels are getting older and getting better, Johnson believes that means they will also be able to compete against similar teams for the first time in a long time.
“We’re going to compete with the small schools and deaf schools, and that’s wonderful, but we’ll have our challenges along the way,” the KSD coach said.
The Colonels are led by a pair of seniors, forward Bianca Dubree and guard Charlotte Judge.
“They’ve been playing for me since they were in the sixth grade,” Johnson said.
The rest of the roster, however, consists of one junior, two sophomores, one freshman and four middle school girls.
There is some experience, however, beyond the senior class. Sophomore guard Emily Couch and junior forward Amanda Sullivan are in their second year on the team, and center Jade Bell and guard Bethany Yance also played as seventh-graders.
All were part of a team that ended a 33-game losing streak early in the season, then lost its next 19 games. The Colonels have struggled to score in recent years, and a few more points could mean a few more games going their way this season.
Keys to the Season
KSD has some size to work with, including Sullivan, a second-year player, and the 5-10 Bell, whom Johnson said improved at a summer camp. If that size leads to a better presence in the paint, the Colonels will have an edge over many of their competitors.
“We have height, and that’s one thing I’m excited about. We have some girls 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, who with a little work might be able get some damage done in the middle. If we can take advantage of that, especially against the smaller schools and deaf schools, we might have some success,” Johnson said.
Players to Watch
Judge is the only proven scorer on the roster, having accounted for more than half the Colonels’ point total last year, but Johnson would like to see fellow senior Dubree deliver more on offense than she did last year.
“We wanted her to score a whole lot more,” Johnson said.
Johnson likes what he has seen so far from freshman guard Caitlyn Neace.
“She’s been really impressive for me. I like her attitude, and hopefully we can develop her into a player,” he said.
As usual, it’s offense. The Colonels averaged only 19 points per game last season and will probably still struggle with their shooting, but Johnson would like to see at least a little more scoring.
“If we can average 20 points or better, I’ll be very happy,” he said. “I think we’re going to be better on the offensive end. I can see they’re really putting some effort into it and concentrating on what I’m trying to teach. The seniors are willing to put that effort into learning what I expect out of them offensively.”
Top Returning Players
Emily Couch, Fr. G.
Bianca Dubree, Sr. F, 2p.
Charlotte Judge, Sr. G, 10p.
Amanda Sullivan, Jr. F.