October 31, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College women’s basketball team is most certainly a work in progress. There are only two returning players from a team that posted a 10-17 record a year ago (6-10 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference). Nine new faces have been added to the mix.

The two sophomores back are 6-foot post player Alison Webb of Goreville and 5-foot-7 shooting guard Sarah Bailey of Moweaqua.

“Alison could be an inside force for us this year,” said Vols’ veteran head coach Marty Hawkins. “If she can consistently amp up her intensity, I think she could be outstanding. As for Sarah, she has the ability to shoot the ball well from the perimeter and can also go down inside some and score. She has most definitely taken a leadership role with the team.”

Hawkins passed the 500-win mark as a collegiate head coach last year. He has put together a record of 280-202 in 16 years at Logan. His previous stint was at Loyola.

“I think we can be pretty good from what I have seen in practice and at the jamboree we played in a couple of weeks ago,” Hawkins said. “We may be a freshman-dominated team, but the potential is there to be successful. A lot of these kids were winners at the prep level.”

Hawkins said he is expecting big things from his freshman recruits, which include 6-foot-2 center Hailee Lampley (Smithland, Ky.); 5-foot-10 forward Maddie Rigdon (Arlington, Texas); 5-foot-9 forward Deje Mooney (Chicago); 5-foot-8 forward Jahkia Holt (Miami, Fla.); 5-foot-8 guard Kalai Trice (Murray, Ky.); 5-foot-8 guard Shelby Beussink (Jackson, Mo.); 5-foot-6 guard Abbi Denton (Kevil, Ky.); and 5-foot-6 guard Haley Darnell (Goreville).

There is also one walk-on addition to the squad in 5-foot-5 freshman guard De’Na Nesbitt (Herrin).

“What I think we do best as a team is jump shoot the ball from the perimeter and run the fastbreak,” Hawkins said. “If we can rebound and play defense, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Returning for her eighth year as assistant coach is Amanda Shelby.

The Volunteers open the season at 7 p.m. Saturday against John Wood College of Quincy in the Logan Invitational. JALC will also meet Parkland College out of Champaign at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“Both have solid programs. These aren’t softies,” Hawkins said of his competition. “And because we are so young and inexperienced, we will have to play well to win. I think we’ll learn a lot about ourselves this weekend.”