By Carl Holcomb
Moorefield Examiner –
Moorefield Girls Basketball had to search for a starter for the car, having to replace five seniors and the new replacements appear to be working in pristine condition to help create a positive finish.
The Yellow Jackettes had a disappointing 6-17 season last year, a step down from the previous season at 9-14 and now the drive for success will be paved.
Moorefield knows what roads will need to be traveled to return to the state tournament for the first time since 2003.
Moorefield has made six trips to Charleston since 1989.
The Yellow Jackettes don’t need a special motto or mantra to live by this season, merely a desire to improve daily at each stop along the route.
“No motto, but we want to come out and compete and get better. The big thing is getting better every game. If we get on a roll, we’ll do well. There’s nobody there (schedule) we can’t compete against,” Moorefield Coach Paul Keplinger stated.
The big destination will have to wait, as the focus right now is the immediate road hazards of each game.
“The biggest thing is they understand what we are trying to do. These girls are working to get better everyday. When we get wins, people will start showing up. Losing doesn’t help,” Coach Keplinger remarked.
The Yellow Jackettes lost five seniors to graduation who all made huge contributions: Meagan Crites, Courtney Parker, Katelynn Wills, Shayna Vetter, and Taylor Zuber.
“We had five seniors last year and three seniors this year. We lost a bulk of our size. Team-wise our heights not there. Athletic-wise we’re pretty good with the group we have. I think that will be our strong point for us this year, our athleticism. Overall, the varsity and kids we have now learned a great deal from last year,” Coach Keplinger commented.
Moorefield shot about 28 percent from the field last season and has been practicing diligently to smooth out the bumps in the road.
“If you look at our offensive output last season, we were pretty bad. Preseason we are looking pretty well. There are things showing up and they are understanding the concepts I believe what we are trying to do. These girls were a big part of what we did last year. At one time we had most of the young ones out there and they did well. They stepped up, especially in the tournament championship,” Coach Keplinger noted.
Moorefield has nine returning varsity players, although some split time with junior varsity.
Developing skills is important and most of the young players will have time traveled on both levels.
Moorefield will be led by seniors Beth Cook, Kellie Bedell, and Kelsey Hines.
Cook was one of the top scorers for Moorefield last season and dominated the perimeter shooting.
“We have Beth back and she’s a pretty good shooter,” Coach Keplinger noted.
Bedell handled the ball well and was an efficient scorer from anywhere on the floor, really coming to life late in the season.
“Kellie needs to step up and shoot the basketball. She can do it, just needs the confidence. She likes the 15-foot jumpers. She is a trackster,” Coach Keplinger said.
Hines was injured last season, but was a great leader in a support role and now has the opportunity to give guidance on the floor.
Alisha Redmon, a junior power forward/center, is a fireball in the paint, grabbing rebounds and securing the ball with the intensity of a true Yellow Jacket.
“Alisha is working really hard, trying to improve everyday. She’ll be a good five inside for us, a strong post-up player and rebounder,” Coach Keplinger remarked.
Shay Stump, a junior forward, has shown great speed and court awareness to setup shots.
Tara George, a sophomore guard, is quick on defense and can light up 3-point line all day.
Having multiple 3-pointer specialists will dare teams to play defense outside which will create opportunities inside.