Lady Wolves in rebuilding mode
WESSON — There is a rebuilding clause in high aspirations forCo-Lin’s 2007-08 women’s basketball team. Co-Lin head coach GwynYoung must replace five starters from last season’s outstandingsquad that finished sixth in the NJCAA National Tournament inSalina, Kan.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Young. “We must come up withsome chemistry. We can have a pretty good team. We will have astrong bench. Overall, we have good team speed and quickness.”
Overall, Young lost 6 of his top 8 players to graduation off the30-5 team. Two super subs return in forwards Alisha Mason andKristin Ellis. Mason averaged 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per gameas a freshman. Ellis averaged 4.9 points and 3.8 rebounds.
Young has 10 freshmen and five sophomores on his roster. RyeshaBullock, a 5-9 transfer from Iowa Western Community College, put upsome good numbers as a freshman. She averaged 11.8 points and 3.3rpg. Bullock is from New Orleans.
Ellis should have some help on the backboards. Shrica Ward, a6-footer from Jackson (Forest Hill), Yashunda Williams, 6-2 fromHazlehurst and Jalissa Sandifer, a 5-11 sophomore from Hazlehurstgive Co-Lin some additional height.
All 5 of Co-Lin’s starters, plus a top reserve from last season,signed senior college scholarships. All-American playmaker NikkiWilliams signed with Lamar University; center Erica Trahan withJackson State University; forward Corissa Tillman with WilliamCarey University; forward Dominique Whitfield with West AlabamaUniversity; guard Hanna Porter with Newberry (S.C.) College; andforward Whitney Scott with Southern University of Baton Rouge.
Young’s team was ranked No. 6 in a preseason NJCAA poll but hesaid other teams should be stronger. “Meridian had really goodtalent last year and they have a bunch coming back, and one of thebest players in the league. Northeast will be strong in the NorthDivision.”
Young, entering his 32nd year at Co-Lin, said several SouthDivision teams could be division title contenders, too. “I thinkJones County had a good recruiting year. East Central should bestrong.”
Wolves Have All-American
The Wolves, coached by Dennis Sims, return 6-8 forward GregTruvillion (18 points and 7 rebounds per game). He is a preseasonFirst Team All-American. Recovering from knee surgery, Truvillion,from Lansing, Mich., could be available for Monday’s home debutagainst Coahoma Community College.
Also back is guard Corey London (8.1 ppg), the team’s thirdleading scorer. Guard Julius Blanks (5.8 ppg, 2 rpg) started overhalf the games last season but has been slowed by a bruised kneeduring preseason drills.
Anthony Wilcher, a 6-4 guard (4 ppg) also returnsexperience.
Co-Lin’s perimeter shooting should be impressive, according toSims. From out of state comes 6-foot sharpshooter Trent Hutchin ofBaton Rouge (Woodlawn). Hutchin is an outstanding shooter.
Guards Brandt Hood, a 5-10 freshman from Wesson and LewanskiNewsome, a 6-5 freshman from Mendenhall, have good shooting skills,too.
“We could be one of the better offensive groups I’ve had but weare not strong on defense,” said Sims. “We are small and probablywill struggle on rebounds.”
Lost to graduation was 6-10 post Christian Marshall, the team’sleading rebounder (8.1 rpg) and second leading scorer (14 ppg).
Last season, the Wolves were runners-up to Gulf Coast in theSouth Division. They lost in overtime to Holmes in the statetournament finals and then fell in the region semifinals, finishing20-8.
Sims, starting his 12th season at Co-Lin, said his squad mustimprove on defense to be successful. “We have given up a lot ofpoints in our scrimmages. We must get more physical.”
Asked about the South Division race, Sims said Jones Countyshould be much improved after rebuilding last season. Pearl Riverand Gulf Coast are the teams to beat in the South race.