Mt. Vernon Register-News

Sports

November 20, 2012

Lady Rams try to build on winning season

MT. VERNON — A season ago the Lady Rams finished with a winning record and a spot in the regional final.

Coach Jeff Lonnon said he wants to see the program continue improving this year. Mt. Vernon ended the year with a 16-12 record and lost to rival Centralia in the playoffs. The Lady Rams enter this year with a trio of goals. They want have another winning season, finish in the top half of the South Seven Conference and claim a regional title.

“There was certainly positive that came out of what we did last year,” Lonnon said. “So I think the next step now for us is to accomplish more than one out of three of those goals.”

The Lady Rams return three frontcourt starters but will have to deal with the graduation of backcourt stalwarts Cheyenne Piper and Jessica Green. Both were three-year starters for Mt. Vernon and committed to play collegiate basketball. Lonnon called the duo ambassadors for the Lady Rams basketball program.

“They were lifers in Mt. Vernon basketball girls history,” Lonnon said. “They started young in our camps. They were here every year. They learned to love the game. They set a tremendous example to girls who maybe didn’t love it quite as much as they did, but they saw them achieve what they did on the floor.”

The top candidates to replace the outgoing guards are Claire Ryan and Courtney Scarbrough. Both players enter this year as juniors but lack experience because of the high level of play both Piper and Green brought to their positions.

“You’re playing behind those two, you don’t get a lot of opportunities,” Lonnon said.

Because of that inexperience Lonnon said there will be a transition period for both as they adjust and learn the nuances of the varsity game.

“We’re got to be patient with Claire and Courtney especially because they’re just juniors, and they didn’t get a lot of varsity time last year,” Lonnon said. “We’re going to lean on them real heavy all at once here at the varsity level.”

The Lady Rams return an abundance of experience to their frontcourt. So much so that Haley Lockhart, who spent most of her career around the basket, will play more of a perimeter role. The move will showcase more of her natural skills and alleviate some of the defensive and rebound burdens she’s been saddled with over the past two seasons. Lockhart is the team’s leading returning scorer.

“I think we’ll see Haley play a little more out on the floor where she can drive it and slash it and use her dribbling ability more,” Lonnon said.

Kelby Kujawa and Aaliyah Palmer also return and have consistently started in the past for the Lady Rams. Lonnon said his team will look to Kujawa for more scoring this season. He’s asked her to be more offensively aggressive.

“Kelby’s the glue that holds it all together out there,” Lonnon said. “I can put her at any spot, and she’s a very intelligent, smart kid.

“She needs to shoot more, and she needs to score more and that’s something we’re really throwing at her daily, almost every five minutes at practice.”

Palmer brings a perimeter shooting presence back to the team.

“Aaliyah’s shooting has gotten better from last year,” Lonnon said. “In practice this week, she’s just been lights out from the perimeter so we hope she keeps that up.”

Hannah Owens returns as a sophomore this season, and she  provides a traditional post player for the Lady Rams. Owens has been playing basketball for just three years, but Lonnon said she has natural skills.

“Her rise and ability has been remarkable,” Lonnon said. “She’s a pretty special player around the basket. She’s got length. She’s got height. She has the ability to finish. She’s got touch on the ball.”

Another key post presence will come from Natalie Williamson, the team’s 5-11 senior.

Mt. Vernon opens the season at the Nashville Tournament. The Lady Rams starts pool play at 6:30 p.m. tonight against Okawville.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Rams spend time at SIU football camp

    The Rams football team spent a little time away from their traditional summer practice setting at the end of last week.

    On Thursday close to three dozen sophomores, juniors and seniors traveled to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for a football team camp. The camp, which included three other high schools, wrapped up Saturday.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hines Sight: St. Louis, Chicago bring exciting aspects into season

    St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears fans have reasons to be excited for the upcoming football season.

    Both teams feature explosive young talent, who have a chance to dominate the league. Challenges also stand in their way.

    July 25, 2014

  • Sam Root award Root calls award 'humbling'

    Webber's baseball team capped the season with several individual honors, and coach Sam Root recently added to the postseason awards list.

    Root, who guided the Trojans to the 1A state finals in Peoria this spring, was named the Southern Illinois Baseball Coaches Association 1A Coach of the Year.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rays win 6th straight, 7-2 over Cardinals

     Jake Odorizzi allowed two runs over 5 2-3 innings and Yunel Escobar highlighted a five-run fifth inning with a two-run double to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 7-2 victory over the StLouis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

    July 22, 2014

  • MTV-Salem Junior Legion Salem ends Mt. Vernon's season

    A sacrifice fly made the difference in Salem's 1-0 win against the Post 141 Junior Legion team Monday.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Breese shuts down Mt. Vernon

    Post 141's Junior Legion team lost 4-0 to the Breese Gray Post 976 squad on Sunday in the district title game.

    July 20, 2014

  • Juniors top Salem

    An early lead and strong pitching propelled the Post 141 Junior Legion team to a 3-1 win over Salem in the district tournament semifinals Saturday afternoon.

    July 19, 2014

  • 7-19 jr. legion cut Lyday shuts out Bluford MT. VERNON — Jeremiah Lyday went the distance and Mt. Vernon’s Jr. Legion squad did just enough offensively to advance in the district tournament at Brennan Klein Field on Friday.Lyday scattered three hits and recorded six strikeouts as Post 141 shut

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • cardinals.jpg Holliday powers Cardinals past Dodgers, 3-2

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matt Holliday homered and doubled with three RBIs, and Lance Lynn won his third straight start for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0002.JPG Basketball camp concludes at Changnon

    About 75 kids in the Mt. Vernon region participated in an offensive skills basketball camp this week at Changnon Gym.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Tom Lindley Sports