When third-year coach Nate Tolbert showed up for tryouts, he was greeted by just five returning players from last year’s 12-14 squad.
Maddie Preston (9.7 points per game), Kayla Aikins (3.3), Michelle Perry (3.3), Ivy Pembrook (2.8) and Teresa Boehmer (0.3) will join forces with newcomers Mackenzie Maiden, Gigi Demera, Taylor Weddell, Bailey Allen, Andrea Maffei, Melissa Glanzmann, Brianna Alvarado and Alyssa Street when the 2014-15 season kicks off at 5:15 p.m. today when the Senators visit defending state champion Reno.
Missing from last year’s team are Lindy Lehman, who opted not to play this year, and Gina Peacock, who transferred to Douglas.
Tolbert has a squad that lacks in height.
“We virtually have no size,” Tolbert said. “On offense, we’re going to have to attack the basket and get the opponent’s big people in foul trouble or run it out. Having no size definitely impacts how you play the game.”
Tolbert’s team historically likes to play full-court defense, and that doesn’t figure to change this year. Tolbert believes he has some good athletic talent coming off the bench. He will need all of them if he presses teams the entire way.
Preston was Carson’s second-best scorer last year behind Savannah Smith, who is now at Sierra College. She is a standout 3-point shooter and has more than enough quickness to get to the basket. She also has proven to be a strong defender at times.
“She won’t have to carry the load, nor should she feel that way,” Tolbert said. “We have so many other shooters who can help Maddie out this year. If teams decide to double her, we have other weapons.”
One of those is Perry, who showed flashes of brilliance last year. She picked up some valuable experience last year, and now must build on that. She can shoot from the outside and take opponents off the dribble. Tolbert said he has been working with her on mechanics with regards to her shot.
“We’ve worked on getting her feet under her (when shooting, more balance),” Tolbert said. “When she had problems we traced it to that.”
Aikins is playing with a lot more confidence this year, according to Tolbert. She should be an effective inside player with her length.
“She has grown up a lot,” Tolbert said. “She is enjoying the game more. Before, I think she felt if she made a mistake she would be coming out.”
Boehmer and Pembrook both saw limited action last year, and will be asked to step it up this season.
“Teresa is pretty fast, faster than you think she would be,” Tolbert said. “She jumps pretty well. I think she can be a good inside scorer. Ivy can slash and she is aggressive on defense.”