By Marlana Smith
Coach Landon Daniel brings 16 Lady Raiders into his third year with hopes of another winning season.
Last year, North Shelby had its first winning season (15-12) since 2003-04.
Daniel has led the Lady Raiders to a 22-27 record in his first two seasons. Daniel’s overall combined record with North Shelby and Pilot Grove is 144-142.
NS divided its goals up into three categories this year: Win goals, emotional goals and statistical goals. The team hopes to get 20 wins, which hasn’t been done since the 1993-94 season. Winning the North Shelby Tournament and district are among the win goals, as well.
Daniel said it is pretty early to decide on who will start each game, but he is confident that the Lady Raiders have a solid seven girls who will rotate and play a lot of minutes as a group.
Daniel looks for junior Ceairra Kirby to handle a lot of the point guard duties as she did last year along with sophomore Caroline Linberger who will be playing a 3-guard/stretch for the team.
Senior Lilly Cook fit really well for the team in the 2-guard spot but broke her wrist in practice and will not be starting the season.
Daniel said sophomore Natalie Thrasher and senior Hannah Wahl will step into Cook’s role. Sophomore Ava Williams and senior Lalaine Treasure will have time in the 5-spot this year.
“Matchups and riding the hot hand and combinations of players will drive who starts each game for us but these seven girls all have the experience and the ability to drive our team to success,” Daniel said.
Daniel indicted COVID-19 is playing a big part of both the boys and girls lives right now. The teams understand they need to bring “Benergy” (Bench Energy) and “Juice,” or BYOJ to every practice and game.
“We understand that we might be our only source of crowd noise and motivation this year,” Daniel said.
NS hopes to at least shoot 65 percent from the free throw line and have 12 assists per game.
Jaime Williams has assisted Daniel since 2017, and she will continue that role.
“She does a great job with our JV team and watching for things that I might not catch in the games. She is very good at communicating with the girls on the bench while I focus on the five girls on the floor,” Daniel added.
North Shelby’s first home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 24 against Marion County.