Arab girls basketball coach Jessica Thompson doesn’t have the luxury of 10 seniors returning, as her boys team counterpart Justin Jonus has, but she’s excited to have four seniors back who were either starters or co-starters a season ago.
Plus, she has a returning dynamic junior who already is No. 10 in career rebounds in the school’s record book.
Natalie Hunt and Elizabeth Brodhage are the returning senior starters, and both can climb up in several categories in the school record book.
Tristen White and Grace Crawley were co-starters for the varsity last season, and senior Aaliyah Hardin also returns.
Junior Reagan Malone gives the Lady Knights a presence inside. Sitting already at No. 10 with about 400 rebounds, she’s well on her way toward the top of the school rebounding leaders.
“Of course, Alli Smalley is on top of everything,” Thompson said. “Reagan averaged nearly nine rebounds a game last season and we want, as her goal, to average 10 rebounds a game.
“If she can do that, and she has two seasons, she very well may be able to catch Alli.”
Individual records aren’t so important as team goals, and Thompson is excited about this group after sometimes rocky 2018-19 season.
“We lost in the first round to Scottsboro, but we won the county and finished above .500,” Thompson noted. “Last year, we had a lot of kids playing varsity ball for the first time.
“Also, even Natalie and Liz, while they played varsity ball as sophomores, they were more role players. Last year, they had to step up and be the key players.
“All four (returning) seniors – Grace, Natalie, Liz and Tris – really had key roles last season. They played nearly every minute of every game.
“We have a great group of seniors. They’re good workers and I’m excited about the experience they’re going to bring to the younger kids. And I’m excited about the girls who got varsity experience for the first time last season.”
Other varsity team members are Kristen Pritchett, Aubrie Kennamer, Tatum Monroe and Aspen Miller.
JV team members are Kate Collins, Mary Kate Hallman, Rylee Enochs, Alannah Wiggins, Kastin Smith, Anna McPherin, Kaely Hill, Laney Kelley, Sydney Ferguson and Bryleigh Bodine.