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TELL CITY—A basketball team than wins 17 games and a sectional title and returns four seniors including its leading scorer—a player who should finish at least in the top three on the school’s all-time scoring list—might think it is in great shape.
But a team that returns only one starter, lacks overall quickness, and has a guard for its tallest player might be worried about its upcoming season.
Both those descriptions fit Tell City’s girls team this year, so it’s kind of hard to predict how the Marksmen will fare.
Lauren Goffinet is their top returnee. A 5-foot-11 senior guard, she is already fifth on the school’s career scoring list after averaging 15.5 points per game last year.
She hit 77.1 percent from the free-throw line last year and 40.6 percent from three-point range, 14th best in the state.
She may have to improve her 5.1 rebound average this year, though, as she is two inches taller than anyone else on the team and may have to play more inside.
Or her 2.1 assist average may go up, as she may have to see more action at point guard, as there is no clear successor to graduated Kara McClintic at that position.
“Lauren is our best at most every position,” Tell City Coach John Lyons said Monday.
He plans to start the other three senior letter winners with Goffinet in Friday’s season opener: Lacey Padgett at center and Emily Dauby and Katie Kalin at forwards.
Padgett started a few games at forward last season and was averaging 4.5 rebounds (including 11 in one game) when her season was ended by a torn anterior cruciate ligament Jan. 8.
She is also the second leading scorer returning with a 2.9-point average.
Lyons said the fifth starter will be either Mariah Alvey, a junior shooting guard, or Kyli Smithson, a junior point guard.
“I’m hoping Kyli can step up and be the point guard,” he said. But he said she needs to become more aggressive.
The five juniors who don’t start and sophomore Jaylen Staggs will be the team’s top reserves.
“I look for Jaylen to help out a little inside,” said Lyons. “She’s probably 5-9 and she’s a strong girl.”
Still Lyons is concerned about the team’s rebounding, which “right now is not very good,” he said. “There’s nothing we can’t fix—it’s just going to take time.”
He’s also concerned about the team’s ability to score. “Offensively we’ve got to be able to shoot the basketball. But we’ve got a lot of kids with not very much experience, which is going to hurt.”
He said Goffinet “is definitely the best” perimeter shooter. “Emily has stepped up and shown she can shoot a little bit. Katie’s streaky but she can shoot a little bit. So can Mariah.”
He said Padgett and Staggs should be the team’s top low-post threats and “Lauren may have to play there some.”
Lyons called the team’s ball-handling “fair at best,” though against Corydon’s press in the preseason scrimmage “once we got people in the right positions we did OK. Again we’re very inexperienced—these girls have to learn how to play together.
“Right now we’re focusing on defense, which is going to have to be one of our strengths.”
He said the defense now is “fair. Lauren’s doing a nice job anticipating passes and Emily had quite a few deflections in our scrimmage.”
When the team develops more depth he would like to press “to generate some offense.”
With so much inexperience, Lyons hopes “we can be towards the middle of the pack” in the PAC. “Our conference is traditionally pretty strong.”
He said Gibson Southern is favored to repeat as conference champion and North Posey, Forest Park and Pike Central should also be strong.
He said the Class 2A sectional “is just so competitive” that it’s hard to say how the Marksmen will do in it.
“Last year I said we’d have to say away from injuries, avoid foul trouble, and get a good draw. Everything I said went against us and we still won.
“We’re going to have to get more experience and we’re going to have to have some depth this year. But if our younger kids step up, we could be a team to reckon with—a team that other teams can’t overlook.”