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LEOPOLD - Perry Central's young and short girls basketball team plans to rely on its quickness this year.
The Commodores have no seniors on their roster. And among their three juniors and six sophomores, only 5-foot-11 Megan Hedinger, who is sidelined several weeks with mononucleosis, is taller than 5-7.
Junior forward-guard Rachael Rayford, the team's quickest player, will also miss Friday's season opener, as she is still recovering from a foot injury.
"We'll only have 11 players (varsity and JV combined) for Friday's game," said Coach Bill Dickerson. "But when we get everybody healthy, we've got some decent quickness.
"We're going to have to utilize that some. Hopefully we'll get some easy baskets off our pressure."
Rayford started several games last year and will contend for a starting spot again when she is healthy. So will Hedinger.
But Friday Dickerson plans to start Deidra Dickerson, his 5-7 sophomore daughter, and 5-6 Katie Schwartz inside and junior Hilarie Hahus and sophomores Lavina Schwartz and Tessa Weatherholt at guards.
Junior Amy Schwartz will be the top reserve guard Friday and 5-7 freshman Kristi Brumfield will be the first frontline substitute.
Hahus, the only full-time starter returning, is "probably our best set shooter," said Bill Dickerson. "Deidra's probably got the most range, and Lavina, Katie and Tessa are all pretty good."
Hahus averaged 7.3 points and hit 42.8 percent from the field.
Lavina Schwartz hit a team-high 70.6 percent of her free throws and should get to the line often as she "is probably our best driver," said Dickerson.
"Katie's the best player inside," said Dickerson. "She's a real good shooter from the key area on in and she's got real good post moves even though she's only 5-6."
Dickerson plans to run "a lot of Princeton sets" and also a high-post offense with screens from the inside players for "a lot of pick-and-rolls."
He said it "takes a while to get used to the cuts" in his offense and none of the current players have played for him. He previously coached the Commodores three years but has been away from it two years.
However he said he started putting in the offenses last summer and "we had a pretty good summer."
He said Lavina Schwartz is the best ball-handler and will man the point.
"But we want the kids to understand it's not always going to be one person handling the ball, especially if we face a zone press."
Dickerson said the team's rebounding, "for our size, is not bad. We've got a lot of work to do on defensive fundamentals and blocking out, though."
He gives the Commodores "a C or C-minus on defense. We need some work there."
He prefers man-to-man defense but said the Commodores will have to play some zone "primarily because of foul trouble. Right now we don't have any depth."
He hopes to develop some depth and press quite a bit when everyone gets healthy.
"Our pressure will depend on how soon Rachael gets back. She and Lavina are our quickest players."
Dickerson said winning the PLAC is always one of his goals. "On paper we'd probably be ranked third or fourth, but we told the kids, They don't play the games on paper.'"
He said Mitchell and Crawford County are probably the PLAC favorites, with Orleans close behind.
Crawford County might have been the sole favorite, but star guard Kacey Cox moved to North Harrison.
As for how the Commodores might fare in the Class 2A sectional, "it depends on the draw, our health, and how well we mature," said Dickerson. "Injuries will be key."