Pack prepares for opener

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Washington girls’ basketball coach Allison Jones (center) and the Pam Pack have begun practice and will tip off the 2011-12 season on Nov. 27 when it hosts Riverside. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

With a starting five that consisted of two freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and a senior, the Washington girls’ basketball team invested a lot in its youth last season. Now the big question is can that investment payoff.
The 2011-12 edition of the Pam Pack girls’ basketball team is still littered with underclassmen as it features only two seniors in Lacie Anglim and Erica Alligood.However, a large portion of the roster has experienced playing time on the varsity level which should help Washington build on its two-win season of a year ago.
“We were very young last year,” Washington coach Allison Jones said. “It was a rough season and a lot of kids were asked to do things that we didn’t start out the year thinking that they would have to do, but they were tough and didn’t complain and played hard.”
The hope is that the growing pains from last year will lead to a growth spurt in the win column as the Pam Pack returns starters Sheema Blount (junior), Abby Walker (sophomore), Shona Midgette (sophomore) and Anglim.
The key for the Pam Pack will be how the young players transition from being team members to team leaders.
“We are certainly looking for (G/F) Sheema Blount to be a leader. This is her second year on varsity and she’s a player who can generate a lot of points,” Jones said. “We’re also looking for (PF/C) Shona Midgette, who started every game for us last year, and (starting PF/C) Abby Walker to continue to develop.
“Kiara Smith was a young player last year who saw a lot of time for us last year and her and Lacie, our defensive guru, are players that we will be leaning on … We return some girls who contributed last year and I’m hoping they take an even bigger step this year.”
Washington has several guard and wing players but lacks depth and size in the post, which could be an issue this season.
“We’ve got some height but we just don’t have a lot of size,” Jones said. “Our posts are lean and long so their game is a little different than the bigger girls who can bang in the post. But, our girls have been really active in the post so far and they’re tough and I’m looking for them to step up big.”
With that in mind, Washington will look to take advantage of bigger teams by running a press-heavy defense and an up-tempo style offense.
“I think our anticipated strength is that we’re going to have to be quick on defense. We’re going to need to generate a lot of our points on defense,” Jones said. “We’re going to look to keep an up-tempo, fast-paced type of game and try not to settle into halfcourt offense, but I think we can handle that too.
“We have a lot of shooters on the team that can be a threat as the season goes along, but we’re definetely going to look to be up-tempo.”
The young Pam Pack team will get its first test of the season on Nov. 27 when it hosts Riverside.