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November 21, 2013

Lady Tigers Look to Youth Movement in 2013-14

After taking state-ranked Marceline to the wire and falling just short of the state playoffs a season ago, Scotland County will have its work cut out for it heading into the 2013-14 season which looks like a rebuilding year.

The Lady Tigers will return just one starter, and the lone senior on the squad will be foreign exchange student Iiris Heikkonen from Finland, in her first season of basketball.

"We are definitely going to be younger this year," said coach Shaina Dochterman, entering her second season at the head of the program.

That may be an understatement, as the team's roster will feature seven freshmen, with a couple of the newcomers possibly factoring into starting varsity roles.

Junior Randi Slaughter is the lone returning starter from last year's team that went 19-7. The team's point guard led the Lady Tigers in three-point shooting and again will have to shoulder a bulk of the scoring load.

The team graduated all-conference performers Megan Creek and Jessica Morrow as well as sharpshooter Katie Howard. The trio accounted for more than 25 points a game.

Three fellow juniors will join Slaughter as the team's "vetrerans". Mazy Gray, Kylee Johnston and Chelsea Burkhiser all saw limited time on the varsity bench last year but will be thrust into key roles in 2013-14.

The team will also feature sophomores Sophia Hoskinson and Kassie Bulen.

"We are not going to be as big as were last year," Dochterman said. "But I think we will be a lot quicker which should show on defense and in the transition game."

The coach added that she expects to play a lot more man-to-man defense to take advantage of the improved team speed.

"I think you will see us push the fast break up the court a lot more, but that is going to depend on how well we can handle the ball," said Dochterman.

Hoskinson and freshman Chelsea Wood will have to fill the void in the post left by the graduation of Creek and Morrow.

"Chelsea is very athletic for a post player, so she is going to let us feature some different looks," Dochterman said.

She added that Wood won't be the only freshman that will be seeing varsity time this year.

"It is definitely a talented class of girls," she said."With our low numbers, we are going to have to use them, but we'll have to watch our playing time."

With only 14 players out this year, Dochterman said it will be a challenge to manage playing time. Players are only allowed a total of five quarters combined between junior varsity and varsity and can only play in three tournaments total. There are three varsity and two junior varsity tournaments this year.

The new-look Lady Tigers will get a chance to see where they stand a bit early this year. SCR-I will take part in a first-ever pre-season basketball jamboree on Saturday, in Canton. They will join teams from Knox County, Brashear and Canton, playing two six minute quarters versus the three opponents.

"We'll have six quarters against three teams that hopefully will show us what we need to work on before the regular season starts next Tuesday in Kahoka," Dochterman said.

The Lady Tigers open the jamboree play at 5 p.m. versus Knox County. The boys see action first at 5:30 vs. the Eagles.

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