Young Knights hope to stay healthy, im­prove through­out

The Progress-Index Weekend - - SPORTS DESK 2 - Staff Re­ports

CH­ESTER - Thomas Dale Girls Bas­ket­ball posted a win­ning record in 2016-17 (13-11), but the Knights will be young go­ing into the new sea­son.

They’re re­turn­ing zero starters, but will bring back­se­niors Ky­lah Webb and Jemiah Brit­tnum and ju­nior Jes­sica Hen­der­son. New­com­ers in­clude sopho­mores Rana Richie and Khadi­jah Waller.

“Our team is fairly young, so of­fen­sively, if we can stay healthy, we should be mid­dle of the pack at the start of the sea­son,” said Thomas Dale Girls Bas­ket­ball head coach Leon Ghol­son, “and hope­fully we can im­prove as the sea­son pro­gresses.”

Ghol­son noted that, as the Knights are young, they will need their de­fen­sive ef­fort to carry them along early on.

“Hope­fully we can play the game at a faster pace this sea­son,” Ghol­son said. “We have some young girls inside that will need to step up to im­prove our power game.”

He added that los­ing six play­ers and key con­trib­u­tors from last year’s team “will be an ad­just­ment for the girls.”

“Some of them will have to go from be­ing role play­ers to be­ing the top dogs on the team,” he said.

With the elim­i­na­tion of con­fer­ence group­ings and tournaments be­gin­ning this sea­son, Ghol­son said “it re­ally doesn’t seem like a full sea­son with­out the Con­fer­ence or District Tournaments. Those games were im­por­tant to boys and girls bas­ket­ball in the area.” He did add, how­ever, that the old district games will “mean more as they should in terms of play­off seed­ing.” He ex­pects that the com­pe­ti­tion in the Ron­ald Curry/ Boo Wil­liams Clas­sic will be chal­leng­ing.

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