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INDIAN LAND – The Indian Land Warriors open a new era of basketball with their new gym this season.
The Warriors’ teams will have contrasting styles on the hardwood for the 2007-08 season. Second-year boys’ coach Nate Smith has his share of experienced players, while veteran IL girls coach Tamara Jacobus is working with an inexperienced, but talented unit.
Smith, who was selected boys basketball coach of the year by The Lancaster News last winter, is optimistic about his Warriors’ squad.
The Warriors’ 13-man squad includes six returnees from a unit which went 8-13, including a 5-5 region mark.
Senior power forward Travis Anderson, a 6-3 performer, returns after averaging 5.6 points and seven rebounds a game, tops in the county last winter.
Senior Tai Young, at two guard, is back after hitting 4.7 points a game. Jeffrey Williams, a 6-3 second guard, hopes to improve on his 4.4 scoring average.
Senior forward Andy Sawyer, a 6-3 performer, is back after missing much of the season with an injury following a transfer from Olympic High in Charlotte.
Marques Williams, a 6-2 junior, will be at small forward, while junior Karl Watson, a 6-foot letterman, will handle the point-guard duties.
“We will look to our returnees to provide key leadership,” Smith said. “We will play a good many players with hopes of having a 10-man rotation.”
Keyadd Miller, a junior, will likely be the center at 6-4. Junior Steven Weddington, a two guard, will be joined at that position by juniors Darryl Smith and Zach Tardy along with senior Richard Rose.
Sophomore Justin Gordon and Watson will operate at the point, while Ted Boston, a sophomore, will work at forward.
“We have a good mix of experienced and promising newcomers,” Smith said. “I feel we will be OK. We’re going to have to play with heart and attitude.”
The Lady Warriors of coach Tamara Jacobus are facing a rebuilding season after IL went 20-7 and finished as the Class A state runner-up.
Gone are IL aces Jean Marie Harris, Merrissa Witherspoon and Amanda Smith, who all signed to play college basketball.
“We’re young and we know we will face some growing pains this season,” Jacobus said. “It will be fun watching this team develop. We have no seniors, but we have potential.”
Freshman guard Mariah Williams is the most experienced player back after starting a few games last season. Hannah Harris, a freshman guard and the sister of Jean Marie Harris, also worked with the varsity team late in the season.
Jacobus will look to that pair for leadership.
Alyssa Thomas, who earned the Junior Lady Warriors Most Improved Player Award last season, is a sophomore center.
Sophomore Paige Brugh will also work in the post along with sophomore Daijah Burnette and freshman Shelby McConnell. Junior Tameka Robinson will also see playing time in the Indian Land front court.
Jacobus has plenty of backcourt candidates in freshmen Jelesa Gordon, Hannah Shoemaker, Brittney Montgomery and Leah Maurer along with sophomores Rosita Riveria and Mykela Hallum.
“This is a hard-working group and I expect them to improve as the season moves on,” Jacobus said.
Jacobus said Chesterfield and Lewisville will be tough in Conference III-A play. “Those two will be in the battle for the region title along with McBee,” Jacobus said. “Overall, I think we will all be battling each other.”