By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
French Camp Academy head girls basketball coach Martha Ward fully understands that it’s how you finish a season that matters, especially on the hardwood. But, she also wouldn’t mind if her Lady Panthers got off to a little faster start this year than they did during the 2012-13 season.
With point guard Carlin West unable to play due to an injury, FCA came out of the short end of the score early in the year, but rallied to win six of its last nine games of the year to finish second in the region and earn the right to host Dexter for a first-round playoff game.
“I have some size and a little experience this year,” Ward said. “Learning to play together will be the biggest thing for us, combining the new players with the ones I have had for three years.”
Among the key returnees for the Lady Panthers, who finished 8-13 last year, will be West at point guard, Suna Kuac at center and Myesha Scott at the small forward. They are three of eight juniors Ward will have on her team this season.
“That is really the bulk of my team,” she said. “After that I am younger, but there is some talent there as well.”
Kuac, a 6-foot center from Memphis, scored 9.5 points and pulled down 12 rebounds a game for the Lady Panthers last year, while Scott averaged 6 points and 5.5 rebounds. West, who is healthy and ready to go this year, dished out 3 assists a game to go with 8 points.
The two newcomers Ward and the Lady Panthers are counting on are junior Anna Grace MacKenzie and freshman Abigail Holman, both transfers from Kosciusko.
MacKenzie, at 5-foot-9, will play the two guard, while the 6-foot-1 Holman will see playing time on the inside.
Also being counted on to play valuable minutes are juniors Abok Nbek and Widan Toto, as well as sophomore Lucy Oakes.
“We have got some quickness and some ball handling skills,” Ward said. “If we play really strong defense and limit the other teams shots, we may have a chance to get out on the floor and go and try to get some easy points from our defense.
“In a set offense I feel like we can work the ball inside with our height,” she said. “And we some girls who can score from the outside as well.”