TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Chris Parsons / Sports Editor
NORTH LAUREL — So far so good. That’s the word coming out of the North Laurel Lady Jaguars’ camp this preseason.
With preseason scrimmages now in full swing, North Laurel Lady Jaguars’ head coach Eddie Mahan said he likes what he has seen out of his squad.
While that squad consists mainly of underclassmen (one senior and one junior), Mahan said he feels like his team is progressing toward becoming a team, but cautioned there’s a lot more work to do.
“That’s the thing we’re trying to key on as the preseason begins to wind down,” Mahan said. “We have a lot of talent, but we need to get rid of the mentality of individualism and try to become a basketball family, as I like to call it.
“We have a lot of young girls, but I think they can mature as the season progresses and they are put in certain situations on the floor,” he added.
One of the biggest keys for Mahan and the Lady Jaguars will be the return of sophomore Kayla Bruner and senior Megan Bryant (did not play at all last season). Bruner suffered an injury in the preseason, while Bryant took the year off to rehab a second ACL tear.
Mahan said with a full roster at his disposal he feels like he can return to the system he began installing during his first year at the helm of the Lady Jaguars’ program.
“Last year we really had to kind of get through the season considering the injuries we suffered,” Mahan said. “Although last year can be blamed on injuries and youth, it really doesn’t take away the sting of all the losses and the season overall.
“I feel like Kayla can be one of the top 10 players in the region and maybe top five if she has a good season,” he added. “The boost she can provide for a team is really big when she plays her style of basketball.”
While there are benefits to both experience and youth, Mahan said one of the biggest challenges in front of him and his staff will be to try and keep the team healthy while trying to help establish some form of leadership for the Lady Jaguars on the floor.
“My biggest concern is keeping my players healthy as we have yet to have a healthy season since I have been here,” Mahan added. “However, we can’t control health so my biggest concern is our leadership.
“We are still a very youthful team and we do not have strong leadership as of yet,” he added. “Teams need an identity with a strong leader. This will be something that will be a work in progress throughout the season trying to identify who our leader is.”