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TELL CITY-The good news for Tell City's girls basketball team is the Marksmen return five of their top six players from last year, including their top two scorers.
The bad news is those five are the only returnees who saw significant varsity action. No one else appeared in more than nine games or scored more than nine total points.
So developing depth could be the key for the Marksmen if they want to match last year's 17-6 record.
They have talent. Senior point guard Kara McClintic averaged 12.3 points, 2.5 steals and a school-record 4.5 assists per game as she made All-PAC.
A strong driver, she went to the free-throw line 114 times and hit 87 for 76.3 percent.
Lauren Goffinet, a junior forward-guard who has grown to 5-foot-11, averaged 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
She hit 43.9 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from three-point range.
Dana Sibrel, a 5-11 senior center, averaged 6.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and hit 50.8 percent from the field.
The fourth returning starter, Marianne Krueger, was a defensive specialist who averaged 1.3 steals and 1.5 assists per game.
Junior forward-guard Jaycee Guillaume saw a lot of action as the first player off the bench. She averaged 2.5 points per game and hit 82.4 percent of her free throws.
Coach John Lyons said Lacey Padgett, a 5-7 junior, is the top candidate to join the five varsity returnees in the rotation. "She really improved this summer."
Senior Katie Bryant and junior Emily Dauby could also crack the rotation, but both are sidelined at least 10 days with injuries.
McClintic aggravated an old injury to her left hand in Saturday's scrimmage against Corydon, so it's possible she could also miss Friday's season opener with Cannelton.
Lyons said Tell City's shooting was "kind of iffy" in that scrimmage, with McClintic's "off a little because of her hand." But he thinks the team's shooting "will be all right."
He listed Goffinet and McClintic as the top outside shooters. "Jaycee can hit some shots too, and Marianne has really worked hard on her shooting."
Lyons said Sibrel will be the team's main low-post threat.
"Really we're playing a center and four guards. Lacy might be able to score inside but she'll be more of a junk player (scoring on put-backs, etc.)."
The Marksmen will again use a variety of motion and flex offenses and a 1-4 set.
Lyons thinks the team's rebounding "should be all right, depending on what type of defense we have to play. If we have to go to a zone to protect people (from foul trouble), our rebounding is going to get worse."
He would prefer "to play as much man-to-man as possible. I think we're better at it than zone just because we've played it more."
But he said that on both types of defense "we're still a little rusty."
Krueger is the team's defensive stopper against hot perimeter players.
"She's really quick, she anticipates well, and she's tenacious - she never gives up," said Lyons.
Lyons said Forest Park and Heritage Hills appear to be the top two teams in the PAC. "Forest Park is going to be tough - they didn't lose anybody.
"I would think we'd be definitely in the upper half (of the conference). I hope to think we can play with Heritage Hills and Forest Park, but we've got to come out and prove that."
Forest Park is also in Tell City's Class 2A sectional and is "probably favored," said Lyons. But "I think we're going to be a competitor."
He said the Marksmen's keys to winning it are "we're going to have to stay away from injuries and we're going to have to stay out of foul trouble.
"And the short draw would definitely help. If we have to play three tough games to win it, it would be hard."