Season preview | Highlanders having to rebuild

Season preview | Highlanders having to rebuild

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Season preview | Highlanders having to rebuild

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Floyd Central senior Madison Kaiser could not be blamed if she looked around her and wondered aloud “Where did everybody go?”

If Kaiser feels abandoned, there’s a reason. She’s the lone returning starter, and one of the few Highlanders with any varsity experience, as Floyd Central pieces together the 2014-15 roster. Coaches despise the term “rebuilding,” but that’s exactly what Kirk Hamsley must do as he starts his fourth season with the program.

Kaiser will be the centerpiece. She averaged 14.7 points and 3.6 rebounds last year as Floyd finished 9-11, and those numbers will have to increase. So will her leadership, and her defensive toughness, and every other facet of her game. Other than that, she’s under no pressure.

“She can’t do it all by herself,” Hamsley said. “She’s always been a leader, since she’s been a freshman. We expect her to rebound more this year. The biggest thing is she has to defend better. She’s bought into that more than in the past.”

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Kaiser is a known factor. The rest remains to be determined.

Juniors are stepping into the void. Brianna Roth and Katie Price will join Kaiser in the up front, while Morgan Wagner and Maddie Probus will play key roles in the backcourt. Hamsley wanted to see a cohesive unit by the fifth game of the year, although the Highlanders got off to a good start with a 43-29 victory over Evansville Harrison.

“They have to buy into what you’re trying to get done,” Hamsley said. “They have to buy into their role. And the biggest thing is getting them to block out, play defense and rebound. If we do those things, we should be competitive in every game we play. That’s our goal.

“This group complements each other really well. They play together. They’re going to have to buy into rebounding as we go through the season, because we’re not very big. They’ll have to pick up the scoring because Madison can’t do it all by herself.”

That’s a long do-to list.

While contending for the Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional titles will require dealing with superpower Bedford North Lawrence, the two-time defending 4-A state champion, the Highlanders have the type of team that could pounce on the unsuspecting.

If the Highlanders were guilty of underachieving with last year’s experience, perhaps the opposite can be true with so many mysterious components.

“I think we can surprise some people,” Hamsley said. “It will be the kind of thing where we gel together.”

Justin Sokeland can be reached at (502) 582-4059.

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