Hoops hopes: Intrigue surrounding local high school women’s basketball teams ahead of season | local sports

Phillips takes over from Christian Heritage

After Christian Heritage School’s women’s high school basketball team went zero a season ago, there’s a new head coach in charge of the Lady Lions.

Greg Phillips replaces Frank Pinson, who spent two seasons coaching Christian Heritage. Phillips comes from Mount Paran Christian in Kennesaw, where he was the head coach of the men’s program.

The Lady Lions are just two seasons away from appearing in the state’s Sweet 16, but the departure of several seniors left an inexperienced squad for the Lady Lions last season. These inexperienced players gained experience last season, and several are back to lead Christian Heritage in Sub-A of Region 7-A Division II.

Reed back to lead Coahulla Creek

After breaking through as Coahulla Creek’s leading scorer last season, senior guard Brinkley Reed is back to lead the Lady Colts in 2022-23.

Reed averaged 21.3 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game to become a first-team 6-3A in the region. Reed, who recently signed on to play varsity at Truett McConnell University, has already scored 1,000 points.

Reed is helped on the Lady Colts by Shea Poe, an honorable mention selection from the 6-3A region a season ago as a sophomore.

Ridley Player of the Year returns for junior season at Dalton

Dalton’s Gracie Ridley was named Player of the Year in the 5-6A region and for the Dalton Daily Citizen All-Area team after last season, and the versatile forward is back to lead Dalton again.

Ridley controlled games with his averages of 16.8 points and 13.7 rebounds last season, helping bring Dalton back to the playoffs.

The Lady Cats are losing a few seniors from last year’s squad, including area honorable mention selections Taylor Thompson and Katelyn Skiffen, but a young group around Ridley should continue to improve as Dalton makes the transition to Class 5A this season.

Dalton Academy seeks to continue building in second year of program

The Dalton Academy Lady Pumas didn’t have many players who had even played organized basketball before the school launched a program last season in the school’s first year.

Dalton Academy finished the season winless, but many of those players head into 2022-23 with a lot more experience.

Head Coach Debra Why will lead the Lady Pumas as they enter Class A Division I.

Murray County hopes to continue winning after breakthrough season

The possibilities – and expectations – are very high for the Murray County Indians for 2022-23.

Under freshman head coach Chris Tipton, the Lady Indians had a breakthrough season last season, going from a 9-10 record to 21-7 and an appearance in the Sweet 16 for the first times since 1997.

Tipton is back, as are the two dynamic players who led Murray’s revival, pre-season seniors Ella Dotson and Mattie Nuckolls. Dotson, a guard, and Nuckolls, a forward expected to play varsity at Carson-Newman University, lead the Lady Indians in Class 2A.

North Murray looking to return to playoffs

A few seasons ago, North Murray had the upper hand over crosstown rival Murray County, with the Lady Mountaineers making the playoffs as the Lady Indians battled for wins.

The script was reversed last season as North Murray finished with six wins while watching Murray County advance to the playoffs.

North Murray joins Murray County in moving up to Class 2A this season, and the Lady ‘Neers are hoping to build on last season’s young roster, led by returning third-team Dalton Daily Citizen All-Area Ava Robinette, to continue to improve.

Northwest’s new look tries to keep winning

A veteran Northwest Whitfield team made a run to the Elite 8 last season, but the Lady Bruins roster got a facelift in the offseason.

Last year’s 7-4A Region Player of the Year Emma Allen left, along with stars Whitley Chumley, Autumn Wiley and Emma Hayes, due to graduate.

A pair of second-year students will take over leadership of the team. Kennedy Baker and Sloan Pender, who shone in the Lady Bruins’ run for the regional title and Elite 8 last season as rookies, are back.

The Southeast aims for improvement

Southeast Whitfield picked up a victory over Ridgeland at the end of last season which prevented the Lady Raiders from finishing the season without a win.

Southeast hopes to get more wins earlier this season.

The Lady Raiders lost last season’s leading scorer, Avery Woodson, at graduation.