Tigers hit by unexpected challenges
The upcoming season has presented a number of unexpected challenges for Rising Sun girls’ basketball coach Kathy Stoudt.
She knew the Tigers would be without the three seniors in last year’s starting lineup. She learned back in June that Abby Mack’s family would move and that her All-County forward would not return for her senior year. Mack averaged 11.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.2 blocks per game.
Stoudt called the loss “monumental,” but at least she was prepared for it.
Then came a knee injury that will sideline forward Liz Zatalava for the season. Stoudt had high expectations for the junior.
She had been very impressed with the athleticism shown by Kira Watson in early practices, but Stoudt learned last week that the sophomore made an elite travel soccer team that will keep her from playing this season.
“It’s just been one thing after the other. We are a completely new team,” she said. “We’re going to be very inexperienced, but we’re just going to try to get better and do the best we can.”
Seniors Maddy Ford and Megan Brown expect to play a vital role. Stoudt mentioned sophomore Bella Barbato, who scored in double figures during a scrimmage against Tome, as another key player. She expects Lexy Gray, a twoyear JV player, to contribute in her first varsity season.
“The strength is that they’re a great group of kids. They listen, they want to learn and they want to get better. That’s the foundation for us, but it almost feels like it did when I started here five years ago, that’s how new it is for all of us,” Stoudt said. “We’re going to take our hits for sure, but hopefully we’ll surprise a team here or there. Hopefully we’ll just keep getting better and better throughout the year.”
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Rising Sun senior Megan Brown (44) leads an inexperienced Tigers team.