|Published: 3:06 PM, 11/08/2012
||Last updated: 3:15 PM, 11/08/2012
Author: Caleb Chrisman
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
NEWPORT-The Newport Grammar basketball teams should look very familiar this year.
Several returning players are back for the 2012-13 season, but there will be a new head coach patrolling the sidelines.
Steve Souder, an eighth grade teacher at the school, will coach both the Warriors and Lady Warriors this year.
"I was approached and asked if I was interested in coaching the girls basketball team, and I had said previously that I was interested in doing that whenever the opportunity presented itself," Souder said. "It presented itself. I said I would definitely be interested. I obviously took on the challenge and the boys (job) also opened up. They presented that to me as well and I said I'm already there anyway so I might as well do both."
"It's a good group of kids. I know most of them anyway being an eighth grade math teacher there. So, I've got a pretty good relationship with them anyway. It was a pretty natural fit to go ahead and coach both groups and see what happens," Souder said.
The Lady Warriors advanced to the sectionals a year ago under head coach Darrell Lane. Souder hopes to continue that success his first season.
"I can't say enough about what Darrell (Lane) did with those girls and how he prepared them," Souder said. "We've got four eighth grade players coming back so we've obviously got a lot of experience and they've been in some highly competitive situations."
Maddy Dawson is expected to start at point guard and Charley Barger will join her in the backcourt at shooting guard.
Paige Gentry earned the starting nod at small forward and Shayna Harden will be at the four.
McKenzie Jones expects to start at center when she returns to the team. Right now she's battling an illness and will miss some time at the beginning of the season.
Others expected to contribute this year on varisty are Lauryn Munn, Skyller Hicks, Shayla Stewart,
Abby Fine and Alayna Perryman.
Rounding out the NGS roster is Mackenzie Souder, Mckensee Robinson, Rylee Grooms, Kylie Hall and Ariel Holt.
Having a large eighth grade class has certainly made Souder's job easier.
"I've relied on them quite a bit to lead the team in practices and in getting ready for what should be a pretty good season if they get out there and do what they're prepared to do each game," Souder said.
For the Warriors, continued success is expected as well. Even with an up and down season a year ago, Souder sees potential for a great year.
"I actually have eight eighth graders coming back," Souder said. "We've got a lot of depth and experience at all positions."
"Bryan Valentine prepared those guys and got those guys in a position to succeed this year. I think we can have a very good season. We've stressed team basketball quite a bit with these guys," Souder said.
Santana Haney is expected to start at point and will be backed up by Keelan Ford.
Alex Overholt is the projected starter at shooting guard and Dawson Hartsell will see time there also.
Tucker Seay will see the majority of minutes at the three.
Cole Fullington is the starter at power forward and Levi Blazer is expected to contribute there as well.
Will Woods is back at center and Jonathan Holt could provide some key minutes off the bench.
Others who could see time include Donovan Roach, Jace Ailor, Josh Douglas, Cameron Ramsey and Isaac Williamson.
Overall, Souder said he's excited about this teams desire to compete and hopes it translates into wins.
"With that kind of leadership, I've got guys that can run practices," Souder said. "I've got guys that can teach the younger ones and pretty much keep the program going where it was."
"I think we're looking for more consistency this year. That's probably the biggest thing," Souder said.
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