BY BRIAN DAVIS
Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats' head basketball coach Lex Lindsey is excited about the start of the 2019-20 basketball season. Practices during the past couple of months have Lindsey entering the season with some expectations.
"I'm pleased with the progress that we have made so far," Lindsey said. "I think that we are ahead from where we were at this point last year. Still, we have a lot of young kids that needs to get assimilated with the speed of varsity basketball and that is usually a trial by fire situation that can't be addressed until our first game on Dec. 3."
Last season, Franklin-Simpson went through some growing pains as most players were a little inexperienced on the varsity level. They won six games last season and could have won more as they lost nine games by 10 points or less.
They only lost two players from last season's team. With the return of junior Alera Barbee, who did not play last season, and with a lot of younger players having varsity minutes, Lindsey feels this team will be much more improved from last season.
"It's going to really help us that younger players like Le Le Partinger, Ashanti Johnson and Conleigh Wilson all got varsity minutes last season," Lindsey said. "Plus with the addition of Alera Barbee, who took a sabbatical last season, but we are glad to have her back. Marcella Doran and Damyah Hopson have improved dramatically so we've got several players that we can rotate in and out. We're going to play a different style of basketball than we played last year and that should be a little more fun for the fans to watch."
Junior Kate Norwood led the team in scoring as she and senior Evyn McCutchen each made 18 3-pointers and freshman Hadley Turner led the team in field goal percentage shooting at 46.7 percent with Norwood shooting 38.o percent and McCutchen at 36.6 percent. Doran led the team in free throw shooting at 63.2 percent with McCutchen, who made the most free throws with 29, at 61.7 percent and Norwood at 60.5 percent. Turner is also the returning player with the most rebounds with 106 with Doran having 64.
The Lady Cats play four teams from the 14th District (Greenwood, South Warren, Warren Central and Warren east), all four teams from the 15th District (Allen County-Scottsville, Barren County, Glasgow and Monroe County) and Clinton County and Cumberland County from the 16th District. They host LaRue County and play at Hart County, who are both from the 5th Region, and on the road at Fort Campbell, from the 2nd Region, and 3rd Region's Butler County and Muhlenberg County.
"The schedule is basically the same as last year's schedule,"Lindsey said. "I like to play all the teams in the region that we can to get ready for the regional tournament,"
Their game on Dec. 16 against Warren East is their opening round game of the Class 2-A Tournament.
"I was talking about this with the girls but we are six wins away from being the state's Class 2-A champions," Lindsey said. "If they can win six games, three in the region and three in the state, I promised the girls I will get them rings. Hopefully we can pull that off."
They will play in Caverna High School's Kysports.tv Christmas Classic Dec. 26-28. The tournament also features familiar opponents in Warren East and Butler County but also features the host team Caverna along with Campbellsville, Paris, St. Francis, who is their first opponent in the tournament, and Thomas Nelson.
The Logan County Lady Cougars are the defending 13th District Tournament champions but Lindsey says this team has the potential to win the district but it will not be easy.
"Logan County is on top of the district," Lindsey said. "Russellville is a little more better than we are because they won a lot more games than we did with a majority of their kids coming back. Hopefully we can knock them off and get back to the region tournament. To win the district tournament, we are going to have to beat two quality teams"
Lindsey says this team can win a lot of games this season. They can be successful but it will be a grind in the process but the potential is there to do so.
"For us to be successful, the girls are going to have to bring it every day," Lindsey said. "They are going to have to be focused and do their best. Learn from their mistakes and don't get discouraged. Just keep plugging away, have a short memory. Stay positive, play together and be unselfish."
Joining Lindsey on the bench this season are his assistant coaches Kelly Cook and Tony McKinney and team manager Amani Williams.