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Basketball preview: Lady Eagles loaded for a run

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Salyer, Robinson head up the list

By Mike Forster

They've got size.

They've got speed.

They've got talent that Division 1 colleges desire.

The only thing the Staunton River Lady Eagles are lacking is the hardware that proves how good they are.

They aim to shore up that gap.

Rarely has a local basketball team opened the season with such promise.  Of course, promise is one thing; delivery is something else altogether.

"We're shooting to be district champs," said Head Coach Kim Jones.  "The girls keep talking about going to States.  I tell them to take it one step at a time...Win the Blue Ridge, then see what happens."

Indeed, winning their district is far from a certainty, particularly with defending champ Lord Botetourt looming large.

Still, you have to like the Lady Eagle chances.  

Discussion of the team has to start with Jodi Salyer.  Where else can you find a six foot point guard who moves with speed and grace?  Salyer, who averaged 17 points per game last year,  is not a light beneath a bushel basket.  No, her talents have drawn the interest of a number of Division 1 colleges.  Salyer recently accepted a full ride to Delaware.

The bad news for Eagle foes?  "Signing has made Jodi work harder," said Jones.  "She knows the level of play she's heading to (at Delaware)."

Joining Salyer in the back court is Brie Holdren, who is showing solid confidence in her outside shooting.  The junior also is a defensive demon with her quick hands.

The strength of the Eagle defense, though, may very well be Shaniesha Robinson.  The 6'1" post player is strong and has a nose for the ball.  Look for her to score most of her points on putbacks.

Out at wing, you're likely to find Cassie Hoag, the most consistent three-point shooter on the team.  The junior is also fleet of foot.

Jones has several options at power forward, including Addie Tuck, who is a strong rebounder.  Danielle Holdren, who isn't afraid to mix it up for rebounds is another possibility.

Shot and discus star Becka Miller brings her strength and toughness, as well.

Senior Ashley Payne can plug in at the 3 or 4 holes.  Also expected to see significant time are senior Kaleshia Bryant and juniors Lauren Mitchell and Keara Brown.  

All four are noted for their defensive prowess and hustle.