Many coaches would not consider a season that started with five losses in six outings a success.
Lewis County coach Jay Fite is not most coaches.
Instead of hitting the panic button in Vanceburg, Fite guided his squad to eight wins over their next nine games, a 17-16 record and a 63rd District runner-up finish.
Fite expects Lewis County’s graduation losses to be filled in by a platoon of five possible options Lewis County has at its disposal this year.
“I can foresee Liv Campbell, Alanna Puente, Jaisa Adams and Maddie Johnson stepping up on the perimeter,” Fite said. “Liv has improved her ballhandling and has been shooting the ball with great confidence. Alanna has matured and is ready to step up for us this season on both ends of the floor. She has the ability to light it up from the perimeter.
“Jaisa Adams can also play a big role in stretching the defense. Maddie is gonna step in right away as a freshman and play big minutes. She will give us a great option to help alleviate pressure as well. Caylee Evans will provide strength, grit and lots of toughness.”
They all saw varsity time last year. Campbell led the Lady Lions from the perimeter, shooting 34.6%.
Leading scorer and rebounder Sarah Paige Weddington (11.7 ppg/8.3 rpg) returns after a stellar freshman season and Fite expects her production to grow even more.
“Sarah has displayed a tremendous maturity for the game over the past couple of seasons and she is getting better and better,” Fite said. “Sarah has gotten stronger and faster over the summer and is ready to step up in a leadership role.”
Cheyenne D’Souza (9.4 ppg/7.1 rpg) plays in the frontcourt.
“Cheyenne has always excited us as a staff,” Fite said. “She has always had the raw ability to make things happen. This year, I expect to see her be a consistent force on both ends of the floor. Her ballhandling and shooting is improving and she is also becoming more willing to sit down on the block and get a bucket if needed.”
Two of Lewis County’s top contributors are only sophomores and Johnson is a freshman.
“I love this team,” Fite said. “They have worked hard and gained valuable experience over the last couple of seasons. We have many areas to grow in, but I think by season’s end we can be very competitive.”