By Chris Parsons
The Whitley County Lady Colonels have had one of those seasons most coaches would like to forget about when it comes to injuries.
So far this season, Larry Anderson’s team has lost three major players to injuries, none of which have returned to full action just yet.
Center Kandace Craig, guards Hallie Jones, Bethany Powers and most recently Brandi Smith have each fallen victim for various reasons.
When the season started, the Lady Colonels were picked by many to be the top team in the 50th District and one of the top two or three in the 13th Region.
Despite the injuries, Anderson’s squad has had success against 13th Region foes, but the Lady Colonels are not the team they were when the season started with those pieces missing.
Anderson said this season has been unlike any he’s ever been a part of.
“I have honestly never had to deal with anything like this,” Anderson said. “Until the other night, I had wondered why it happened, but we had some young kids step in and play one of the best games I’ve ever seen from a Lady Colonel team as far as effort.”
The good news for Whitley County has been that while the upperclassmen have had to spend time on the mend, some of Anderson’s younger players have reaped the rewards from the bench in the form of more playing time, but he said it hasn’t been an easy task to figure out who to play where.
“Some of the young kids are gaining confidence in what they’re doing, which is always good,” Anderson said. “The other thing is having to figure out the rotations as far as subbing, but we’re all learning as we go now and hopefully we’ll continue in these final few games of the season.
“We’ve had kids playing that had no idea they would be even dressing varsity until a week ago,” he added. “They have responded though and that’s always a good sign for us.”
The season started with a bang for the Lady Colonels, winning their first eight games of the season. After that, they didn’t win consecutive games from Dec. 21 to Jan. 29 when they knocked off Williamsburg and Knox Central.
Since Whitley County’s loss to Corbin on Feb. 1, Anderson’s squad has won four of the last five, with all four wins coming against 13th Region foes.
With two games left on the schedule, Anderson said he hopes to get some of his core players back in time for a postseason run. He said if he doesn’t, his team would have to make the best of the situation.
“They have cleared Powers to play with a brace, but she hasn’t got it yet, so we have to see how that goes,” Anderson said. “Jones has played some, but she’s not at full strength yet either.
“Kandice is iffy right now and Brandi will see the doctor again Feb. 18 to see where she is as far as coming back,” he added. “We just have to do what we can and hopefully our kids, whoever is on the floor, can rise to the occasion.”