Brindlee Mountain girls basketball coach Tony Mabrey has been looking forward to this season for several years now.

When he took over the program in the summer of 2016, almost all the players from the previous season’s team were gone, most because of graduation.

That team reached the Class 3A Final Four. Mabrey has been trying to build the program back ever since.

This season, he has a group of five seniors – most of whom have been playing under Mabrey since the seventh grade. One of those five is Kylie Westbrook, one of four transfers who’ve joined the core group since last year.

“This is the most depth we’ve ever had,” Mabrey said before his team opened with a highly competitive 62-56 loss at DAR last Friday night.

On Tuesday, the Lady Lions bounced back with a 35-31 win at home against Asbury.

“Most of the seniors have been playing together since the seventh grade,” Mabrey added. “And all four of the transfers will contribute.

“Having that kind of depth is huge for us because we’ll be able to do some things we want to do, like pressing the entire game.

“We’ve had to back off a little (pressing) because we only had six or seven girls, and when we’d get in foul trouble, we just couldn’t play that way the entire game. Now we have the depth to do some things we want to do.”

The seniors, in addition to Kylie Westbrook, are Chantzley Kirkland, Adriana Knepper, Kailyn Childress and Kyleigh Wilks. The other three transfers are Alli Persle, Karli Westbrook and Autumn Abernathy.

The veteran returnees welcome the help of the new players.

“We’ll have people to fill in our weak spots,” said Kirkland, one of the school’s top athletes. “That will help a lot.”

Foul trouble bothered the Lady Lions in the loss to DAR, but not as bad as the team’s free throw shooting. The Lions made just 9 of 32 free throws; by contrast, they made 9 of 14 3-pointers.

“Figure that one out,” said assistant coach Evan Lemons.

The Lady Lions were down by 18 at halftime, having committed 16 turnovers to DAR’s 7. But things changed in the second half and the Lady Lions actually grabbed the lead with a minute to play.

“We had our chances,” Mabrey said.

Kirkland led the way with 16 points. Wilks had 15, Karli Westbrook 11, Childress nine, Persle three and Mooneyham two.

Against Asbury, Kirkland had 18 points and Knepper had nine as the Lady Lions evened their record at 1-1.

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