At 3-0, the Wilson Hall varsity girls basketball team is in an enviable position. The Lady Barons are building on a successful season with many of the same players returning from last year. As a bonus, they still have plenty of time to develop as players with the advantage of years of experience.
They already own wins over Williamsburg Academy, The King's Academy and Heathwood Hall, and they'll resume their mission today on the road in Summerville, where they'll take on Pinewood Prep.
"They're a very solid girls program," Wilson Hall head coach Glen Rector said. "It'll be the first really strong test for our girls, and it's going to be interesting to see how they respond. (Pinewood Prep has) a very athletic team, and tall team, and I expect them to be one of the ones that does well in the Charleston region. It's a good early matchup for us.
"We want to see where we're at," Rector said. "So we've tried to schedule some tougher games in the next few weeks to see what we need to do to be successful in the region and the playoffs in February."
Last year's team went 16-7 and shared the regular-season SCISA Region II-3A title with Florence Christian. The Lady Barons made it to the region championship game before losing to FCS, and to the SCISA 3A quarterfinals where their season ended with a loss to Cardinal Newman.
"We only had two seniors on the team last year, and we're replacing three starters," said Wilson Hall head coach Glen Rector. "The girls that are starting are all girls that had a lot of varsity experience last year.
"We have a lot of girls that returned from the team last year, so we were able to start putting in our offenses and defenses," he said. "Having so many returning players, they're pretty used to the system. We try to run similar things with our (junior varsity) team, so the girls that came up are very familiar with what we try to do defensively. Experience has been on our side so far in the first three games.
""We only have two seniors on the team, but my point guard has been on the varsity team since the ninth grade. We have several girls that have been on the varsity team for several years, so while we're not senior-heavy, we have a lot of girls with good varsity experience.
In addition to the returning players, Rector said Natalie Jackson, a transfer student from Hawaii whose father is in the Air Force, will have an immediate impact.
"She is a very experienced player," Rector said. "She was able to play with some of our girls before we started practicing, and she's pretty familiar with them. She will come in and be a big asset. She's had a sprained ankle and hasn't started yet, but she probably will be before too long, and we'll probably have a 6-person rotation in the starting lineup."
Rector is counting on seasoned junior point guard Liza Segars, who joined the varsity team as a freshman and started as a sophomore, to be his floor general.
"She brings a lot of experience at the point guard position."
Junior Susanna Hutson and sophomore Madison Elmore will start at gaurd. Rector said Elmore brings solid ball-handling to the court and Hutson is one of his top outside shooters. Both have been on the varsity squad since they were freshmen.
Cameron Duffy is a junior forward also starting her third year as a varsity player, and junior forward Courtney Clark, the Barons' leading scorer from last year and the region player of the year, will be the sixth starter.
"With those six girls, we're going to have a pretty solid rotation of starters," Rector said. "We can go pretty tall with that group, or we can go quick with that group. We're trying to play a little bit more up-tempo with more full-court pressure, but we will make adjustments based on what the other team has."
Rector said he expects tough competition both in the early season and in region play.
"All of (the region) teams have a lot of good players returning, so it's going to be a very competitive region," Rector said.