By Chris Chaney
The Milford Lady Eagles had a tough road to tread heading into the 2012-13 basketball season, losing a good amount of their senior leadership from a year ago and having to acclimate a new crop of talent with the speed and intensity of varsity basketball.
And despite a slow start that saw the Lady Eagles drop their first four games, watching the team play, it’s easy to tell that the loses were not a result of a lack of effort.
“We’re all about team,” Coach Kristi McKenney said of her young squad. “It would be hard to single any one person out because everyone is playing so hard.”
On a roster that only has two seniors on the squad, the Lady Eagles will look to some new faces to carry the team going into the meat of their schedule in late December and January.
“Hannah Woody, our freshman point guard, is a very good shooter, so we’re expecting a lot out of her,” McKenney said. “Then Shayna Simmons, a junior, is our only returning starter.
“We’re looking to her for a lot. We’re looking to her for scoring, for rebounding. for leadership. Everything. This is her team.”
Simmons has answered her coach’s call early in the season as she leads the team in scoring and is near the top in rebounding, assists, steals and blocks. Simmons also does a good job driving to the basket and creating contact. She’s shot 20 free throws on the year, another team-high, and has converted 80-percent of the freebies.
While Simmons has been the catalyst for the team, McKenney been getting some solid contributions from some role players that she said at the outset of the season would be huge for the success of the team.
Junior Brooke McDonald and sophomores Erin Beurket and Taylor Foster have played quality minutes for Milford.
The Lady Eagles, despite their ugly record, have been competitive in nearly every game they’ve played, culminating with their first win of the season on Dec. 10 in a home victory over Amelia, 53-48.
Again, it was Simmons who set the pace for the Lady Eagles, going 4-8 from the field, and 10-12 from the free-throw line en route to a team-high 18 points in the win. Taylor Foster, a freshman, stuffed the stat sheet for Milford, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out two assists and recording a steal and a block.
The Lady Eagles, who came into the season with a 10-game home winning streak, saw that mark come to an end last week against Anderson. However, McKenney was able to foresee a slow start as a result of a schedule that saw the team play each of their first four games on the road.
“We like to play in front of our home crowd and if we can get through those first few games, I think we should be alright,” she said before the season started.
The Eagles started a new winning streak on Monday with their win over the Lady Barons and they will look to string a few Ws together as they host Loveland, Kings and Hughes all in the next week and a half.