Varsity girls look for plusses after big losses

Friday, November 28, 2003

Mike Johnson doesn't like using the term "rebuilding year." He prefers "transition year."

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"We hoped for a better year last year," said Johnson, in his third year as the girls team's coach.

Scott City's hopes for this season rest partially on the performance of lone senior Amanda Raines, a 5-foot-4 guard and the only player returning from the varsity team. Raines, a three-year starter, is a great pure shooter with good range. She will be counted on as the main scoring threat.

"She's our leader," Johnson said, "and just about everything that comes along with that."

Johnson will surround Raines with four juniors who played junior varsity for most of last season. The Rams' JV team went 18-4 last year, and some of their players return with varsity experience.

"The speed of varsity won't be a big surprise to them," Johnson said. "They've already got their feet wet."

Three freshmen also will see significant playing time: Nora Glasser, a 5-11 center, Valerie Givens, a 5-5 guard, and Kelly Hicks, a 5-8 forward. All three are new to the program, but each will be relied on to contribute.

The team's desire to overcome its youth has helped its progress in practice and, according to Johnson, created a good basketball environment.

"We're having a blast," Johnson said. "These are some of the best practices I've had since I've taken over the program."

Another newcomer to the team is junior Alana Newell, who wasn't with the program last year.

"I'm really glad she came out. She's working really hard," Johnson said.

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