The Hendersonville Christian Academy girls prep basketball squad is hoping for better results than last year’s one-win campaign.
The Lady Crusaders return two starters in hopes of seeing improvement this season.
“We want to talk about getting one percent better every day,” HCA fifth-year head coach Jack Keller said. “We are focusing on those incremental small things to get better over time. At the end of each practice, we’re going to look at each other, and we are going to say, ‘did we get better today?’ That’s how want to build what we’re trying to do with the kids.”
HCA lost three seniors from last season’s squad, and three other players opted not to return to the team.
However, sophomore point guard Lauren Batey – who has been in the starting lineup since she was an eighth-grader – will bring experience back to the court.
“The team has a lot of confidence in her,” Keller said. “They look to get her the ball.
“She has really worked on her game. She’s really coming along well. I know she’s worked. She’s been working with a trainer even since the middle of last year. She’s been competing and training with a lot of the girls from different high schools here in town, so, I know she’s been challenged. She’s the one I am looking to to make some big strides.”
Senior guard Marian Silva is the team’s other returning starter.
“She fought through some injuries last year,” Keller said. “She’s been rehabbing during the offseason.
“She plays with a lot of passion. We need her. She has a lot of experience.”
Junior post player Lindsie Mierop – a transfer from White House Heritage High – is also expected to be among the starting unit.
“She brings a lot of size and experience to our program,” Keller said. “Mierop has shown us some things at (summer) camp that we have not seen. We’re excited about that.
“We’re relying on her leadership and experience to help us build a winning culture here.”
Senior post player Ali Turc returns to the squad after sitting out last season.
“She’s going to be a nice compliment to Lindsey and Morgan on the inside,” Keller said. “We’re excited to have her back. She’s a great kid and a hard worker. I’m looking forward to her adding to the team as well.”
Sophomore post player Morgan Bell received some playing time last year, as did junior forward April Wooley. Junior guard Haley Thornton and sophomore forward Desi Munson are also expected to play extensively.
“She has a nose for the ball,” Keller said of the undersized post player in Munson. “She plays much bigger than her height.”
The Lady Crusader program won two games in 2013-14.
“We know we’re an underdog, but we feel good about this year,” Keller said. “We’ve moved in the Division II bracket (in Class A) over to the east (District 1). I think there are going to be some teams that we can be much more competitive with on that side. I expect to win some games this year, and I told the girls, you need to expect to win some games. Our goal is to cross some thresholds that we haven’t been able to cross since joining Division II.”
HCA will face Friendship Christian, Mt. Juliet Christian, Knoxville Webb, the Kings Academy, Donelson Christian Academy and St. Andrews Sewanee in district competition.
“We have great chemistry in the locker room,” Keller said. “The kids have bought into the reality of what we’re trying to do. Our mantra is that we’re going to fight and rise up each day and fight again. That’s the drum beat we’ve been beating for the last five years. They’ve bought into that. They see the bigger picture of what we’re trying to do here.”
Hendersonville Christian opens play with a Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Hall of Champions game against visiting Nashville Christian on Nov. 19.
The Lady Crusaders open the regular season in their own Chick-fil-A Tournament, which will be held from Dec. 3-5, and their district opener will be played at Friendship Christian on Dec. 11.
Reach Craig Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.