SULLIVAN — After finishing 14-13 last season and finishing second in the Central Illinois Conference, the Sullivan Lady Redskins are looking to increase not only the output in the win department, but also in regard to hardware.
“Our first goal is to win our conference this year,” said Sullivan coach Sheri McCain. “I believe we were tied for second last year, so the girls have made it their goal to win conference outright. Our second goal would be to win the conference tournament, but winning a regional is at the top of the list.”
McCain explained that the Lady Redskins’ record and seeding in the conference tournament have improved each of the years this senior class, which is made up of Chloe Riley, Lanie Cameron, Elizabeth Green and Haley Rose, has been in the conference tournament and that gradual improvement has been on display in practices and over the summer.
“I think this year the girls have more confidence in each other,” said McCain. “They played well together this summer and have matured as a team. They want to get up and down the floor quickly and use their speed defensively. We did lose two key players, but I feel as though we have had a few others step up and take their place."
Riley averaged 9.5, while Cameron scored 2.2, Green 4.8 and Rose 2.3 points per game. Overall the Lady Redskins averaged 47.2 points per game and allowed 43.4.
Tatum Ellis was the lone senior on last year's team, while sophomore Brooke Tuttle moved to Jerseyville. Ellis was a second-team all-CIC player, who averaged 7.5 points per game, while Tuttle averaged 8.3.
To go with the four seniors on the roster, all of whom McCain expects to take leadership roles in various forms, the Lady Redskins also return 5-foot-7 first-team all-CIC forward Esther Miller, who will help lead the Lady Redskins. Miller averaged 8.7 points per game.
Sullivan is also to be looking for varsity contributions from two freshmen in Emily White and Taylor Orris as well as two sophomores, including 5-10 sophomore Avery Still. McCain said Still, who averaged nearly three points per game last year, is very versatile.
“I think one of our strengths is definitely our speed,” said McCain. “We are going to get up and down the floor quickly as much as possible. I also think having five returning varsity players back is extremely helpful. They each know their roles, and they know what they need to do to be successful this year. I would say we have got to get better at would be finishing around the rim and making our free throws. We lost a majority of our games last year due to those two variables. The girls have to concentrate on those two statistical things in order for us to be successful.”
Big games on the track to the CIC crown are to be against Central A&M and Tuscola. The season is to start Monday against Teutopolis.