Bulldogs small and young but have good quickness

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By Larry Goffinet

CANNELTON - Cannelton girls basketball coach Jeff Miller hopes his team's quickness can overcome a lack of height and experience.

"We've got a lot of speed, but they're so young they haven't found out what to do with it yet," said Miller Monday.

The Bulldogs have no seniors and only one junior on their nine-girl roster. And "I think the tallest girl is only about 5-7," said Miller.

The Bulldogs do return two starters, junior center Brooke Powers and sophomore forward Jaci Garrett.

Sophomore guard Nakaa Myers was the first player off the bench most of the time last year and is slated to join the starting lineup this year.

Competition for the other two starting spots "is pretty wide open," said Miller.

He listed freshmen Brianna Simpson and Devin Lockman and sophomore Whitney Nugent as the top contenders.

Miller said freshmen Chelsea Johns and Stephanie Austin also could gain considerable playing time.

None of the returnees averaged more than 3.1 points per game last year or hit more than 50 percent from the free-throw line.

The team's shooting looks "a little rough," said Miller.

He expects Myers, Lockman, Garrett and Simpson to be the team's top outside shooters.

He said Lockman is the top driver. "She has so much athletic ability. She's probably one of the quickest kids I've seen and she outjumped Crawford County for the tip (in Saturday's preseason jamboree)."

What type offense the team will run "is yet to be determined," said Miller. "We've discussed several, but we've been working on fundamentals most of the time in practice."

Powers averaged 7.4 rebounds and Garrett 3.4 rebounds per game last year, so the Bulldogs' rebounding could be decent despite their lack of height.

Miller said the Bulldogs "struggled" somewhat against South Central's press in the jamboree but ball-handling is "something we're really working hard on."

He said Myers, Lockman and Nugent will be the main ball-handlers.

Miller expects to play mostly zone defense because of the lack of height. "We may press some, depending on who we're playing."

He said the team's defense overall "is mediocre right now. It's something we have to really focus on - learning the basics."

Can the young Bulldogs compete for the Class A sectional title?

"We always like to hope we can," said Miller. "The last two years we've made it to the final game. Last year we lost by 18 to Wood Memorial and they were second in the state.

"The biggest thing is the kids have to work hard and they have to be confident - that's the thing they lack."