Girls Basketball preview: JeffersonForest

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Lady Cavs are a talented bunch

By Mike Forster

  You talk about the JF girls hoop team and you have to talk about its balance.

The question is, however, will this be a team that has balanced mediocrity?  Or is it one that has a balanced plethora of talent?

How that Lady Cavs play out their season will  tell us which it will be.  We see no reason why the answer can't be the latter.

Analysis of the team starts with team captains Anna Carter and Erin McKeague.  

Entering her senior season, Carter has been a stalwart for Jefferson Forest.  A superb soccer player and a crackerjack on the cross-country paths, Carter has also made her mark in hoops.

"She can do it all," marvelled JF Head Coach Paul Redgate.  "She takes what we say and puts it into effect.  Indeed, Carter returns for her fourth year on the varsity, having led the team in scoring (15 ppg) and rebounding (10 per game) last season.  She'll be found all over the court this season:  the Swiss Army knife of this team.

McKeague, a junior, will be a starter for a third year.  With good floor vision, McKeague always seems to find that extra pass.  "I'm impressed with her ability to get all of her teammates involved," noted Redgate.

McKeague may also find some time at shooting guard, in order to take advantage of her smooth outside shot.

Another fine shooter is Cassidy Ratliff.  A sophomore of slender build, Ratliff is a pure athlete and a defensive pain.  As such, Redgate will sic her on the best players the Lady Cavs face.  She's also lightning quick.

JF has some good strength in the paint.  Kaila Reese and Jessica O'Bryant each bring a tremendous amount of athleticism to the mix.  Both also take great pride in their defense and are not afraid to mix it up in pulling down rebounds.

The big lady in the middle looks to be Amber Evans.  A sophomore, Evans really came on at the end of last season when she was one of the Lady Cavs' leading rebounders and scorers.

With her long arms, Evans is tough to guard.  Though she'll face more strapping counterparts this season, Evans has speed that will offset that mismatch to a large degree.

Redgate is also excited about the crew that has moved up from last year's JV team.  Redgate is concerned with bringing that group up to speed quickly.  There is little time to squander.

That crew is headed up by Katie Cousins, a smallish player who makes up for her lack of height with hustle and the smoothest of movement.  Mark our words, folks:  It won't be long before point guards dread going up against this dynamo.

Also up from JV is Erin Saunders, the Seminole District cross country champion.  Saunders brings a solid scoring mentality to the mix.

Junior Rikki Jones brings versatility to the team.  At 5' 5", she can still outsmart and outfight larger players to the glass.

Paige Whitten provides an inside option, has good footwork and is solid fundamentally.

MacKenzie Sorrells is a southpaw who looks good off the dribble.  She can be tough from the perimeter or at small forward.

In addition to its physical talent, Redgate likes the way this team is coming together.  "I've never had a team that motivates each other so well," said the coach, who begins his fourth year at the helm (and his seventh, overall, at JF).

Redgate expects his team to be hustling up and down the court, particularly with its high level of athletic prowess.

With speed and toughness, this team could make its mark in a wide-open Seminole District this year.