If momentum can last for anywhere around nine months, then Coach Vohn Hoop and his Peebles Lady Indians are in for a memorable 2013-14 campaign. The Lady Indians finished the 2012-13 season by winning 12 of their last 14 games to finish 16-9 and capture a third consecutive sectional title before dropping a heart breaker to Ironton in the district semi-finals. So far, so good for Peebles as they stand 3-0 at press time, with wins over Western Latham, Paint Valley, and West Union, all in convincing fashion while averaging 78 points per game.
Peebles will have to replace three very important graduated seniors in Taylor Brown, Alex
McFarland, and Hayleigh Swayne, so for the Lady Indians this season, success or failure lies with the big three of their senior class-Sidney Pell, Baylee Wallace, and Brooke Justice. Pell and Wallace return a combined 29 points per game of offense and a plethora of postseason awards and the two recently signed to continue their college careers together at Ohio Christian University. Both girls should also reach the 1,000 point plateau for their high school careers some time this season.
Pell is one of the most versatile players in southeast Ohio, being just as dangerous from behind the three-point line as she is in the paint. Wallace will handle the majority of the inside duties for Peebles, though you will also see her leading the transition game quite often.
“I think we have the best post combo in the league, maybe even in southern Ohio,”” says Hoop. “We obviously are going to realy on Sidney and Baylee an awful lot.”
“We’re going to take advantage of our post presence. If they put bigs on Sidney we can bring them out to guard her on the perimeter and we want to always create match ups in our favor.”
Justice provides a ball handler and another outside shooting threat, deadly from three-point range.
“We are going to try and keep Brooke in a shooting guard position this year,” said Hoop. “She can shoot a little bit and she will have to take care of the ball for us.”
The Lady Indians then go young from that point with talented freshman guards Jessica Sowards and Aubrey McFarland making up the rest of the starting lineup, as youngsters get thrown right into the fire at the varsity level.
“Jessica is going through the noraml freshman stuff right now but she is going to be a really nice ball player for us,” says Hoop. “She does a lot of good things that maybe don’t show up in the book.”
Peebles will also look to get contributions from sophomore Kaitlyn Toller and junior Jessica Shelton off the bench, as well as a group of girls that might see time at both the JV and varsity levels, including junior Alex Unger and a project of sorts in 6”2’ sophomore Eliza Tipton, back in basketball for the first time since sixth grade.
“Eliza got in the varsity game at Paint Valley and was just super nervous,” said Hoop. “Hopefully by the end of the year she can give us some minutes and help us out.”
“We have 15 total girls in the program, so the JV team will have 8 or 9 girls to use in most games,” said Hoop.
As far as the Southern Hills Athletic Conference is concerned, Hoops sees his team right in the mix.
“I see us and North Adams as the teams to beat in the big division,” said Hoop. “It seems like there are either really good teams or a lot of evenly matched teams.”
“We will have to have senior leadership to be successful this season. We have three of the best around and they have got to step up and carry us.”
The Lady Indians will also make the move down to Division IV for post season play.