The Prince Avenue Christian School Lady Wolverines basketball team dealt with a game cancellation due to COVID-19 and health concerns to start off 2021, but it will return to the court this Friday, Jan. 8, when it hosts the Athens Christian School.
Lady Wolverines head coach Richard Ricketts said his team is excited about the chance to play again after dealing with frustrations caused by the precautionary cancellation.
“They're aggravated,” Ricketts said about his team. “I mean, they're like me, but it is what it is. Everybody's going to deal with it this year.”
The Lady Wolverines are on a two-game winning streak, defeating Jackson County High School twice in December. They stood at 3-5 on the season entering this week.
The only other victory they have to their credit is over Walnut Grove on Dec. 1. The Lady Wolverines have 10 more scheduled regular season games in 2021, and Ricketts said that they will try to add at least one or two more games if they can.
“We were just starting to hit our stride, really starting to play well,” Ricketts said. “We had to shut down, and fortunately it wasn't doing a bunch of games, but being off, it's going to affect us some. Everybody's in the same boat. Fortunately, we don't have a game till Friday, so we'll have a full week of practice and get back in it.”
The most aggravating part for Ricketts is that most of his team is young and inexperienced.
Outside of senior Karlee Armstrong, who scored her 1,000th career point earlier in the season, freshmen Audrey Vandagriff and Leila Todd have been starters this year.
According to Ricketts, freshmen Madeline Tebeau and Kennedy Brown have also showed improvement throughout the season.
“Our younger kids are starting to figure out our system and starting to figure out how to move the ball,” Ricketts said. “They're starting to understand rotation. They're all going to be pretty good, they're just green. They’ve just got to figure it all out.”
The varsity girls team only has 10 players on the roster, which Ricketts said is plenty. The small size helps the players get more experience.
It also provides the added benefit of helping keep track of contact tracing when COVID-19-induced shutdowns occur.
The Lady Wolverines’ first practice after winter break was Monday, Jan. 4. That was the day before Prince Avenue Christian School’s classes resumed.
The team had a lot of missed time to make up for, but Ricketts is looking forward to getting more reps with his team.
“We can get a lot better than we are,” Ricketts said. “I'm a big defensive guy. We’ve got to keep getting better defensively. We're starting to rebound a whole lot better and starting to take better care of the ball.”
Ricketts isn’t exactly sure how his team will play next.
The lack of practice certainly does not help, but he hopes the Lady Wolverines play hard and start to feel more cohesive together on the court.
“They're getting more comfortable,” Ricketts said. “When you're thinking, you're not moving as fast, and it's got to be second nature. As they get more and more comfortable, they'll start making more and more plays.”