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Licking Lady Wildcat Basketball preview

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The 2023-2024 Licking Varsity Lady Wildcats, from left, front row: Ryleigh Barton, Hannah Medlock and Finley Sullins; second row: Keely Gorman, Kinley Keaton, Addison Floyd, Linzie Wallace and Kiley Rinne; and back row: Allie Hock, Morgan Stone and Zoey Dawson.

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JV Lady Wildcats, from left, front row: Keely Gorman, Jayd Thompson and Kylee Rinne; second row: Sadie Hutsell, Morgan Stone and Mya Rinne; Miley Peterson, Karissa Malikowski-Whitten, Addison Floyd and Aleksey Cook.

By Shari Harris, Publisher

The Licking Lady Wildcats are entering their 12th season under Head Coach Steve Rissler, and after nine consecutive years with Assistant Coach Terri Moncrief, this year the team has a new assistant coach, Eriq Kristek. Rick Mosher returns as an assistant to the team, and former player Kylie Taylor will join the coaching staff this year as well. Other changes this year include the addition of two tournaments to the schedule, in St. James and Mansfield.

Despite all the changes, there are many things that remain the same. The Licking Lady Wildcats are the #1 seed in the Frisco League Tournament for the eighth consecutive year. And Rissler anticipates a good season for his hard working team.

Of Kristek, Rissler values the input from new eyes, with fresh ideas from the young coach. Kristek’s organization skills should also benefit the team.

After graduating two tall seniors last year, this years’ squad will be a little shorter overall. But returning All-State honoree and Frisco League MVP Hannah Medlock, who is 30 points away from her 1,000th, is on track to have a big senior year. She has improved her attack to the basket and is tougher defensively.

Junior guard Allie Hock returns, and is described by Rissler as a “slasher” – extremely fast with the ball in her hands. She will be joined by 3-point sniper Kinley Keaton, who is also a post defender. Linzie Wallace is the glue of the team, and does it all. A fourth junior, Zoey Dawson, is the team’s x-factor, and brings that extra something for the big games.

Senior Finley Sullins, a great athlete, adds incredible speed and a positive attitude to the team. The third senior on the team, Ryleigh Barton, can draw an offensive foul better than any other player he’s coached, says Rissler.

Underclassmen Addison Floyd, Morgan Stone, Kiley Rinne, Keely Gorman and Mya Rinne are also expected to contribute on varsity this year.

Their summer season went well, and the pre-season jamboree last week was a good chance for the girls to try out their skills against three good teams, Fatima, South Boone and Montgomery County. Rissler reported they won four or five out of six quarters played at the jamboree, after a summer where they only lost one or two games.

In the Frisco League, Rissler is expecting Laquey and Iberia to be obstacles. Each team only graduated one player last year, and he anticipates they will play well. Thayer, who is often in the same district, is also a team to watch, returning all players from last season.

Similar to their male counterparts, the Lady ’Cats’ history of winning makes all competitors look at the Licking contest as a big game. As a result, there are no “easy” games or sure things on their schedule. But rest assured, the Licking coaches and players are prepared for another great season, and look forward to the challenges, beginning with the Big Cat Classic on their home floor Tuesday evening, November 21.

 

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