Four returning varsity players will lead the young Lady Phoenix this basketball season.
Senior Anna Cameron and juniors Marcala Moore, Aszure Chamberlin, and Baily Wilbanks are who fourth-year head coach Kari Cooley is relying on to lead her 14-player squad. The girls lost two seniors last year and gained seven freshmen.
Cooley is changing the game plan this season after Cameron and Moore both earned a lot of fouls last year due to a change in the rules.
Last season, the two bigs were constantly in the post and fed the ball to make layups.
“We’re designing our offense more to pull them away from the blocks a little bit more and let them shoot,” Cooley said. “They actually have a really nice shot.”
She hopes pulling Cameron and Moore out from under the basket will catch other teams off-balance and get her players some mismatches on offense.
“They’ll be two of the tallest people in the league, so their inside game and rebounding will be crucial but there’s no doubt we’re going to get some nice mismatches,” Cooley said. “We’re going to see a lot of good things from Anna and Marcala.”
Chamberlin will be the Lady Phoenix starting point guard.
“The three of them (Moore, Cameron, and Chamberlin) as a combo with pick and rolls and moving the ball, that’s where we’re going to get our points,” Cooley said. “I’m excited to see what these upperclassmen have to offer.”
The coach expects to have a few of the younger players forced into leadership roles and moved up from junior varsity to play on the varsity team.
“I can see two of them rising to the challenge,” Cooley said.
Freshmen Nya Grady-Norman and Bryanna Rivas are the two girls Cooley sees making an impact on the varsity squad. “I think they’ll be a really nice asset to the varsity program,” she said.
“(Grady-Norman) is one I don’t think she realizes how good she is and I’m excited to see how she evolves,” she said. “She’s going to find her niche just like she did in volleyball and realize she is a powerhouse.”
Cooley hopes to have Rivas replace Chamberlin as point guard halfway through the season and let Chamberlin work off the ball.
Cooley is looking forward to seeing Moore, Cameron, Wilbanks, and Chamberlin on the court together and seeing how they have improved since last year.
“Win, lose, or draw, we’re going to be able to put up a good fight,” Cooley said.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Senior Anna Cameron guards Marcala Moore dribbles up the court during practice.