Anderson County | Lady Bearcats have high hopes for season

Anderson County | Lady Bearcats have high hopes for season


Anderson County | Lady Bearcats have high hopes for season


Since middle school, the Anderson County Lady Bearcats have lived with high expectations.

Those expectations have reached a zenith as Anderson County has been ranked the preseason No. 1 team in the state by the coaches after going 34-2 last season and reaching the state tourney final four.

“We were kind of expecting it to happen after talking to some people around the state,” coach Tony Kays said. “We thought we would be in the top four or five. It’s something we welcome. It’s a nice recognition for our county and our kids and how hard they have worked.

“We identified them at an early age as being a special group.”

The Lady Bearcats are led by one of the state’s best and most versatile pair of seniors in 6-0 guard Makenzie Cann and 5-11 forward Eriel McKee.

Both are considered Miss Basketball candidates and have been varsity regulars since the eighth grade.

“They’re both great kids,” Kays said. “We’ve never been in a situation around here where we have had one all-state player, much less two, so it’s very exciting to see what they can do this year.”

Cann averaged 16 points, five rebounds and five assists last season while McKee averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Both can play anywhere on the floor on both ends.

“Makenzie is a pure shooter with deep range, and she’s also a great passer who sees the floor extremely well,” Kays said. “Eriel just has the ability to always be around the ball. She has extremely quick hands and an ability to score around the basket that matches anyone. She just has a knack for getting the ball in the right place.

“The best thing is they play so well off each other. They have been together long enough they just know where the other one will be at the right time.”

Anderson, however, is more than just Cann and McKee. Point guard Destiny Stewart, a 5-5 senior, will enter her third year as a starter after averaging five assists a game last season.

“She’s kind of like a coach on the floor for us,” Kays said. “She makes sure everyone is in the right spot, and it’s a luxury to have her experience out there.”

The Lady Bearcats will start two other seniors in 5-8 guard Alex Avritt, one of the team’s best defensive players, and 5-7 guard Jessica Rice.

Coming off the bench will be 5-2 junior Corrin Robinson, a former starter who averaged six points a game last season.

“She gives us a great boost off the bench with her scoring and energy,” Kays said.

Kays likes his team’s depth with a bench bolstered by a pair of talented sophomores in 5-3 guard Marissa Walker and 5-8 swingman Kaci Currans. Other young players could develop as well.

“We feel like we can go eight deep right now and by Christmas are hoping it will be 10 deep,” he said.

That depth will be needed as the Lady Bearcats hope to increase their tempo on both ends of the floor and face an upgraded schedule that includes games against Christian Academy, Ballard, Sacred Heart, Mercy and trips to the Republic Bank Classic and Louisville Invitational Tournament.

Anderson will face its biggest challenge in the region from a strong Simon Kenton team that finished 28-6 last year before falling to Anderson in the regional finals 70-68.

“We feel like Simon Kenton will be a top-10 team this year,” Kays said. They’ve pretty much got everybody back and their staff does such a great job every year with their kids.”

No matter what the results, Kays said the community and staff are looking forward to the season.

“This has been a great group of kids to be around the past few seasons,” he said. “We welcome the recognition and the rankings. We just want to be there at the top at the end of the season as well.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports