The first two seasons have been a bumpy ride for Oak Hill head girls basketball coach Darrell Compton thanks in large part to Covid issues.
Now Compton faces the challenge of replacing some key pieces lost to graduation including leading scorer Samiah Lynch.
“We have a lot of youth, but all of the youth can play. We are definitely going to have to get after it on the defensive end,” Compton said. “Last year we didn’t put a lot of ball pressure on people. This year I want to try and speed teams up and see if we can get some easy buckets because we did struggle to score last year. If it wasn’t for Samiah, we would have really struggled.”
Compton hopes the experienced gained from last year and off-season work will lead to good results this season.
“I think we have some girls this year that can score. They went to work in the off-season and they have done everything right,” Compton said. “Hopefully that carries out on the court. This group of girls just want to work. They want to have fun as well, but they really want to work and get better.”
In the early going, Compton feels he has 10 players he can put on the floor including four freshman.
“We have four freshman that we think may contribute early. It will depend on how quickly they adjust to the speed of the game,” Compton said. “Our sophomore class is the strongest group and we have some solid juniors. We have a handful of seniors, but they haven’t played a lot of varsity ball.”
One of the seniors that Compton will look to for leadership and stability is Hannah White.
“Hannah is coming off of a great soccer season and has really evolved into a great point guard,” Compton said. “She can also score for us. I think you will see a different side of Hannah this year.”
Harper Davis is another senior with experience having played all four years for the Red Devils.
“Harper struggled with the speed of the game a little last year, but she really put the work in over the off-season,” Compton said. “Her body strength is better and she even played soccer this year to stay in shape. She is really tough underneath.”
Sophomore Taysia Gray was the second leading scorer for the Red Devils last year and will again be counted on to get the ball in the basket.
“Being a freshman, Taysia had to live in the shadow of Samiah some last year, so we think she will break out for us,” Compton said. “She will really have to step up from 11 points per game to 15 or 16 points a game.”
Junior Cara Smith gives Oak Hill a multi-dimensional threat and is player that Compton feel has a huge up-side.
“Cara has the potential to be a breakout star. I am really big on her and I think the team will go as Cara goes,” Compton said. “We need her to score some as well. She has the height and she can play inside and out, a lot like Samiah did for us.”
Two players that have battled injuries will making a return this year and the Oak Hill coach thinks both of them will be key components when they get on the floor.
“I really like the way Jordan Harris looks. She tore her knee up last year, but she has really gone to work. She can move and she can score. We really are looking for her to help us out,” Compton said. “Grace Angeleno came back last year, but she broke her finger during summer ball. We think she will be back in January.”
With 10 players he can rotate in and out, Compton believes his team is headed for a solid season.
“There will be some aggravating times with that. They will make some mistakes, but I think their hustle will outweigh those mistakes they make,” Compton said. “Last year we never really pressured the ball in the back-court in man (defense), but we couldn’t do that last year. I am hoping to build on that with being able to play 10-deep. I think we have enough guard play and post play where I can sub in and not lose a lot.”
Oak Hill opens the season on the road at Riverside, Dec. 1.