Taking over a program as a first year head coach brings plenty of challenges. Pulling it off in the middle Covid pandemic takes those challenges to another level.
To his credit, Nicholas County head girls basketball coach Kameron Hornsby has weathered those difficulties and maintained the same excitement he had on day one.
Now Hornsby hopes the fight his team has displayed the last two years will turn into wins this year.
“I am really excited about this team. We have almost everybody back this year and I have a strong group of seniors that are all looking very solid so far,” Hornsby said.
Anastin Hornsby, Mason Stone, Jenna Grose and Lilly Meadows have all been with Hornsby since he came on as an assistant their freshman year before taking over the following season.
With his solid base of seniors and his leading scorer back, Hornsby feels like his definitely can make a mrkes improvement on the 9-12 season last year.
“We were right there on the cusp of a .500 season. Covid got us a couple games with us getting quarantined and us getting Covid ourselves,” Hornsby said. “There were teams that were just better than us, but I really felt like we could have won a couple of more games.”
Sophomore Adrienne Truman was the scorer for the Grizzlies last year scoring 252 points in her freshman campaign.
“She has really been doing some good things,” Hornsby said. “Adrienne has been in the gym over the offseason, just like several of the others. We went to a camp at Emory & Henry College and she looked really good.”
A big plus for the Nicholas County this year appears to be depth which has made for good battles in practice.
“I have 17 players and this group has the most players that can really get up and down the floor. It has been intresting in the early pracitces because nobody is really better than the other players,” Hornsby explained. “We can now divide teams up equally and they are making each other better when we scrimmage and do workouts.”
Among those 17 players is a returning junior that Hornsby feels will keep opposing defenses honest.
“A big plus for us this year is getting Alexis O’Dell back. She played her freshman year, but didn’t play last year. She is looking really good and she will compliment this team really well,” Hornsby said. “Alexis will really help because teams will have to guard her as a true five. Teams will have to respect all five positions on the court, night in and night out.”
Although last year did not produce the number of wins he would have liked to have seen, it will bebenfit the Grizzlies this year in experienced gained.
“Last year we started two freshman and three juniors at times. We were blessed last year with a lot of underclassmen getting minutes last year and I think that will be beneficial to us this year.” Hornsby said.
With a roster loaded with players that play weel together and compliment each other, Hornsby looks for his team to be in attack mode each night.
“We can play fast. We want to play 96 feet, turn people over and score fast buckets,” Hornsby said. “They all have that sixth gear, so to speak. I think that will be our biggest strength and we have really developed some solid basketball IQ.”
Olivia Stone will add more scoring punch, while sister Mason Stone is a defensive specialist that can lock down the post. Anastin Hornsby can knock down shots beyond the 3-point line for the Grizzlies.
“We will still be playing a lot of underclassman on varsity, but we are balanced. I think we can make some noise in the postseason,” Hornsby said. “There are some good teams in our region, but I think it is wide open. We just have to take the season one game at a time and work to get better by the postseason.”
Nicholas County opens the season Nov. 29 when it hosts Grafton.