West Lincoln coach expects good season

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 8, 2004

West Lincoln basketball coach Lane Young is optimistic about hisvarsity squads. With four starters returning from last season’sClass 1A state tournament semifinals team, the Lady Bears should bemaking reservations for a return trip to Jackson’s MississippiColiseum in March.

“Our bench isn’t as deep as last year, although we have fourstarters back,” said Young. Two all-state tournament performersfrom that 26-6 team return in forward Alicia Kennedy and pointguard Erica Shaw. Kennedy, a senior, averaged 11 points and 6.6rebounds per game, earning MVP honors on the Coaches All-CountyTeam. Shaw averaged 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists pergame, making The DAILY LEADER’s All-Lincoln County Dream Team.

Also returning are senior center Monica Price (5.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg)and junior guard Britnee Smith (4.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg). Top reserveLauren Smith (5.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg , 2.1 apg) also returns. The LadyBears lost guard Lyndsay Franklin to graduation.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We are going to have to be in a little better shape than lastyear because we don’t have as much depth,” said Young, 29, enteringhis third campaign at West Lincoln. “Experience and leadershipshould be a strength for us.”

Serving as assistant coach is Randy Laird.

Young’s boys could make a run at the state tournament too, as 4starters return. The Bears finished 13-14 last season, placingthird in the Division 7-1A Tournament and advancing to the SouthState playoffs.

The Bears are led by senior guard Tyler Smith who was sidelinedmuch of last season by a torn ligament in his ankle. Smith averaged15.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 3.2 apg in 16 games. Three more startersreturn for the Bears in junior guards Shane Lynch (3.7 ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.8 apg), Steven Jones (2.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and senior forwardKevin King (7.5 ppg, 7 rpg).

The Bears lost All-Lincoln county guard Brooks Smith tograduation. The Bears, were seeded No. i in the division tournamentbut wound up third They lost in the first round of South at ScottCentral.

“I expect our boys to much improved from last year,” said Young.”We have some young post players who must step in and work hard tohelp us. Our bench should be stronger than it has been in severalyears.

Young said he expects the Bogue Chitto, Enterprise and MSD girlsto be division title contenders. He said the Enterprise boys shouldbe contenders.