Claytor and Lady Dragons just looking for more improvement
Moving from one set of practice times to another and to a completely different role at West union High School in 2013014 will be the ever optimistic Jason Claytor. After serving as the JV coach for the boys program, Claytor decided to make the jump and was hired as the new girls varsity coach for the Lady Dragons.
Obviously, the first thing for Claytor to deal with is the difference in coaching the two different genders.
“In all honesty the difference between coaching boys and girls aren’t as many as one would think,” said the new head man of the Lady Dragons. “The girls are a joy to coach and I am really looking forward to the season ahead. The positive is that we do return a bunch of experience from last season.”
Coming off a 1-20 campaign in 2012-13, the Lady Dragons are looking to make forward progress and though they can still be considered a young team with just two seniors, they do return a number of players who got some varsity experience last season. The two seniors are Natasha Barr and Marci Schneider and in Barr, West Union returns its leading scorer and rebounder and an Special Mention All-District player who put up 12 points a game.
“With Natasha, we are looking for her to be more than just a scorer,” says Claytor. “We need her to be a complete basketball player, which she is 100% capable of doing. Teams are going to focus on stopping her so she needs to be able to see the floor and get the ball to others who can score. This will open up the game for her and make scoring for her easier.”
With Schneider, the Lady Dragons get a player who is always hustling and not afraid to hit the floor chasing loose balls.
“Marci’s number one agenda right now is defense,” said Coach Claytor. “She is long and athletic and most nights is probably going to be called upon to guard the best player on the opposing team. Offensively, she is capable of scoring and we need to score when those times arise, but as I stated, we first want her to be our defensive stopper.”
The Lady Dragons are overloaded at the guard position and most of the point guard duties will fall on the shoulders of sophomore Kristen Grooms.
“Kristen gets the luxury of having the hardest job on the team as our point guard,” added Claytor. “She has to be able to take command on the floor. That can be difficult for a sophomore, but it is a role that I think she can handle. She has to be able to understand where certain players like to have the ball and where they are best suited to score.”
“Ideally, she can get us 5-6 assists a night just by getting everyone in the right spot and getting the ball to them.”
West Union will also use a rotation of sophomore Mikayla Akers and junior Lexie Hanes at the guard position.
Athletic junior Taylor Martin who left the team early last season has returned and she is a player capable of putting up big points on any given night while also being a tenacious defender. Martin can be an inside-outside player and brings some muscle to a front line that includes juniors Jessica Boldman, Michala Chaney, and CeCe Howard.
“CeCe is going to be expected to bring us a ton of energy, while giving us some solid rebounding and post defense,” said Claytor. “We need that 100% effort at all times from her.”
“The biggest challenge ahead is for us to simply learn how to win and how to compete,” continued the West Union coach. We can fall into bad habits and give up on plays. We have to compete for 32 minutes.”
Claytor hopes that West Union fans will enjoy watching his 2013-14 Lady Dragons.
“Hopefully we will be able to play a fun, exciting brand of basketball. We want to get the ball up and down the floor and the tempo that we are wanting will be dictated by our defensive pressure. Our defensive pressure will hopefully speed up the game to a pace that we like.”
Patience will also be a key for West Union fans early as the schedule is not kind to the Lady Dragons. The team stood at 0-1 at press time with a loss to Peebles in their regular season and the next three games on the docket are Lynchburg, North Adams, and Manchester. Claytor knows the difficulty of that stretch and sees the Southern Hills Athletic Conference as a wide open battle f0r 2013-14.
“With all of the new coaches this season, I think the league is wide open,” says Claytor. “The teams that have been at the top of the league are going to stay there but after that, things are up in the air. I feel that we can compete with anyone in the league on a given night.”
“Our expectations are to compete and play hard for 32 minutes each and every night. We want to work hard each and every day to just get better. If we do those things, we will have a successful season.”
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