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Lady Barons work to rebuild with just two returning starters

By J. SCOTT SEWELL
jscott@theitem.com
Posted 11/22/19

Year after year, the Wilson Hall varsity girls basketball team seems to pile up victories. Last year, the Lady Barons won 19 games, earning a first round bye in the SCISA 3A state playoffs before falling to Porter-Gaud 62-58 in the …

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Lady Barons work to rebuild with just two returning starters

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Year after year, the Wilson Hall varsity girls basketball team seems to pile up victories. Last year, the Lady Barons won 19 games, earning a first round bye in the SCISA 3A state playoffs before falling to Porter-Gaud 62-58 in the quarterfinals.

This year could be head coach Glen Rector's toughest test yet though. Wilson Hall lost seven seniors from last year, including its leading scorers and rebounders and much of its bench depth.

"We lost a lot from our team last year," said Rector. "All seven contributed a lot, but the main thing we lost from last year was a tremendous amount of leadership, team enthusiasm, and team excitement. The girls were very close with each other, so we lost a of leadership last year."

Rector and the Lady Barons will be relying heavily on their two returning starters, seniors Maddie Elmore and Haley Roone McCaffrey. Elmore started at point guard while McCaffrey positioned herself as the team's top defender.

"Maddie is a very smart player, and she shoots the ball well," said Rector. "Haley is a fourth-year varsity player, probably our best defender last year, and she led the team in transition baskets."

Those transition baskets are a key part of Rector's defensive strategy, which emphasizes using defensive pressure to generate offense.

"I think one of the hallmarks of our program is defensive intensity and trying to create a culture that defense creates offense for us," said Rector. "Our defense is going to be very important for us because we're going to have to create some transition offense from our defense."

This year's team features three other seniors in Dubose Alderman, Emily Reynolds, and Waverly McIver. It will also include several members of the junior varsity team last year due to the high number of seniors on the varsity.

Sophomore Lucy Matthews and juniors Hayley Champion, Gracyn Coker and Andi Grae Wingate were all key contributors to the JV team, which went 15-4 last year.

Champion and sophomore Vivian Bryant provide the Lady Barons with some much needed depth in the front court to help battle some of the bigger teams in the state.

"Depending upon our rotation, we could put a very tall team on the floor," said Rector. "We actually have more height overall than we did last year."

Wilson Hall will need that depth when it faces teams like Cardinal Newman, the defending state champion, and Northwood Academy which is consistently among the best teams in SCISA 3A.

"I think there are several girls who can probably step up to key leadership roles as the season moves on," said Rector. "We feel like, if we can make progress as we get to the end of the year, the team has a really good chance of being in the Final Four (of the state tournament)."