The Hazard Lady Bulldogs will be looking to improve on last season’s 8-23 record. The Lady Bulldogs, under second year coach Tyson Gross, will be returning the wealth of their squad for the 2012-13 campaign.
Coach Gross will be looking for some leadership from senior Brooke Sharpey, who was named among the preseason top 10 players in the 14th Region by the region coaches’ association. Sharpey ended last season averaging nearly 20 points per game during those last few contests, and Gross said he expects that kind of progression to continue.
“She’s really been doing a real god job in practice, going out every day and leading us in scoring, leading us in hustle plays right now,” Gross said, adding that her play simply makes the team better. “She just surprises you with what she does, because she just comes out and plays basketball.”
Sharpey will joined by seven juniors, each of whom, Gross explained, have an important role on the team, from Maddison Niece running the point to Sarah Pratt’s role as the team’s two-guard. Savannah Roark is also becoming more of an offensive threat, and one that allows Hazard to have more of a presence on the post, along with Tori Wells.
Coach Gross will also have able players coming off the bench this year to log significant minutes in Brittany Miller and Kellie Patrick, while sophomore Hannah Webb is also competing for playing time along with some talented incoming freshmen in Colbi Johnson and Kelsi Caudill in the guard position.
Hazard has already completed one scrimmage against Barbourville, a team predicted to win the All A, Gross noted, but the Lady Bulldogs still have some work to do. Even still, he expects his team to be ready come time for the postseason in February.
“I feel like we’re going to come in the first of the season, we may struggle in certain parts of the game,” Gross said, “but we’ll improve just like we did last year, from point A to point B.”
The Lady Bulldogs will face some good competition in the 14th Region during the regular season, especially against a Letcher County squad Gross described as one of the top two teams in the region. That’s one game, which comes later in the season, that will be a good indicator of how far the Lady Bulldogs will have come by the end of the regular season.
“I feel that the Letcher game, if they’re not the top team in the region, then there in the top two,” he said. “I feel like that’s a good gauge for us.”
Another match-up to look for will be against Harlan County on Jan. 7, though there will be plenty of other chances for the Lady Bulldogs to be tested this season during what Gross termed a competitive schedule that can provide his team with tough in-game situations. He added that his goal is for his team to win games and make a serious run for the postseason.
“We’re at Hazard, and they’re nothing less than the top,” he said. “That’s the way it is in every sport, every academic, everything competitive at Hazard. We aim to win, from the All A tourney to the district, to the regional.”
Hazard will kick off the regular season next week against with a road trip to Cordia on Nov. 29.
Hazard Lady Bulldogs 2012-13 Basketball Schedule
Nov. 29 Cordia Away
Dec. 1 Jenkins Home
Dec. 3 Lee County Home
Dec. 6 Powell County Away
Dec. 8 Owsley County Home
Dec. 10 Harlan County Away
Dec. 19 Breathitt County Away
Jan. 2 Cordia Home
Jan. 3 Estill County Home
Jan. 4 Wolfe County Away
Jan. 7 Harlan County Home
Jan. 10 Jackson City Home
Jan. 28 Jackson City Away
Jan. 31 Knott County Home
Feb. 2 Knox Central Home
Feb. 4 Letcher Central Away
Feb. 6 Breathitt County Home
Feb. 9 Wolfe County Home
Feb. 11 Allen Central Home
Feb. 14 Knott Central Away
Feb. 15 Owsley County Away