Can talent trump experience? That’s the hope for Adair County Middle School girls’ basketball. The 2022 edition of the middle school Lady Indians feature only three eighth-graders on the entire roster.
The team’s only veterans are guard Reese Bardin and post players Arianna Gilmore and Anika Jennings. Fortunately for newly installed head coach Mike Sneed, he has a talented group of seventh-graders to help shoulder the load.
“That group won the [Central Kentucky Middle School Athletic] Conference last year as sixth-graders, so hopefully we can build off of that,” Sneed says. “The seventh- and eighth-grade teams will mostly be seventh-graders, but we’ve got some good guards, good height with Arianna and Anika, and Reese can really shoot it.”
The head coach says that while most of his girls will have to play up at least one grade level this season, he believes they can compete despite the age disadvantage.
“This is a really good group of girls, and they’ve had a lot of winning experience in the past, a lot of good coaching in the past,” Sneed says. “They’re all showing improvement, and I think they can handle [playing up]. Last week, we had camp, and I think that helped a lot, just getting used to the pace of the game and the physicality. I think they’ll be ready.”
At the sixth-grade level, Sneed’s squad features plenty of talent but little experience.
“The sixth-graders, they have a few good guards, but they also have a lot of girls who have never played or never played at this level,” Sneed explains. “They’ll be more guard-oriented while the other two teams will focus a little more on our post players.”
While Sneed has decades of coaching experience, this season marks the first time in several years he has coached a girls’ team. With last year’s head coach Jerald Bryant focusing solely on his duties as the girls’ high school varsity coach, Sneed now leads both the boys’ and girls’ middle school teams.
“It’s a little different than with the boys,” Sneed says of his new role. “Girls are a little more structured, and they probably try harder to do what you tell them. The key is trying to get them to play on their own when things break down. You don’t want them just being robots out there.”
Sneed won’t have to wait long to see how his team measures up to the competition. With less than three weeks of practice under their belts, the Lady Indians’ first game is Thursday, a difficult test against Northern Pulaski.
“The first couple of games are going to be tough,” Sneed says. “We’ll get to see where we are and then go on from there.
The squad’s full roster, schedule, and team photo is below:
Reese Bardin #5
Arianna Gilmore #23
Anika Jennings #30
Ashley Loy #1
Adysen Wooley #10
Claire Loy #14
Callee White #11
Addie Bowman #2
Madi Burns #3
Allee Campbell #12
Makayla White #4
Maddie Wethington #31
Kendall Graham #21
Ella Brown #25
Payton Allen #11
Konner Houchens #2
Ila Loy #15
Kaylence Bennett #4