Liberty head girls basketball coach Denise Arline believes she has a nice mix of veterans and youth this year which has her excited for the 2022-23 season.
“This team has a lot of potential. We have several returners this year and several of the ninth-graders are playing really well,” Arline said. “We have 18 kids this year. That is a great number for us and I really like that.”
Seven of the players out this year are freshman, while the remaining 11 players played last year and bring back some much needed experience to the team.
Kirsten Miller leads the group of experienced players and will be counted on to score the basketball for the Raiders.
“Kirsten is just a sophomore, but she is a very talented player that really listens to what we are telling her,” Arline said. “She wants to share the ball. Instead of her shooting, she will pass the ball to someone else. We need her to shoot the ball a little more. She is a very good kid. She wants everybody to have a part in the game, which is good, but when she can shoot, we need her to score.”
Arline also notes that with a full year of varsity experience under her belt that Miller has also been more aggressive.
Last season, Liberty was hit pretty hard by injuries, especially early in the season. Three of those players are back this year and Arline is counting on contributions from all of them.
“Ashley Walker is senior that hurt her knee early in the year. She is a scrappy player with a lot of power,” Arline said. Ayreyonia Paris was also injured in one of the first games and she will help us out.”
Senior Toni Trent transferred in last year and she too will be coming back from an injury.
“Toni is a really versatile player for us and can play any position,” Arline said. “I have some talented girls that have really improved. They want to practice everyday. If we could practice on Sundays, they would come on Sundays, which is great. ”
Jessica Anderson will be one of the top post players for the Raiders. Arline describes her as an aggressive player that does a great job guarding the basket for her.
Sophomore Brooklyn Brown adds depth under the basket after playing valuable minutes as a sophomore.
“What I love about these girls is no matter where I asked them to play, they go do it,” Arline said. “All I want from them is their best effort and that is what they have been doing. They are very coachable group.”
Kadie Stone is a tough, low post player that is also expected to make an impact this year.
“Jayden Tolliver is another flexible player that plays with great effort. Chloe McGhee is a sophomore who is a little undersized, but she is really quick. Chloe and Alayna Cline both are three-point shooters.”
Lexi Cozort is a player that gave up cheerleading to play basketball and may be a breakout player for the Raiders this year.
“Lexi is an aggressive player that has really worked hard in the off-season,” Arline said. “I have seen some major improvement from her and she will help score.”
A good portion of the freshman are new to the game, but Arline notes that they are enthusiastic, hard workers that are willing to learn.
“I do have a fairly young team, but we have some talent. I know they will make some mistakes, but I want them to come out strong each night,” Arline said. “I can’t wait to see what the season has in store for us.”
Liberty opens the season Nov. 29 on the road at Montcalm.