In March 6-12, 2008 Issue
The Russell County Lady Lakers (12-18) had their season cut short as they were beaten by Barren County
, 48-29, in the opening round of the 4th
Region Tournament at Western Kentucky University
on Monday night.
The Lady Lakers, the 16th district runners-up, ended 4-4 in district games under first-year Lady Laker Coach Craig Pippen.
“It was an emotional loss at Diddle Arena as all last games are with seniors,” Pippen said. “They never laid down or quit. Our players fought the fight and represented themselves with pride.”
He said playing in the region at Diddle Arena was a valuable experience for his basketball program.
“Barren County won the region last year and they have a solid basketball program and a good coach in John Butler,” he said. “All their perimeter players do a great job handling pressure and making good decisions. That's where we need to be in the future.”
He said fundamentals will be key to his team’s success in the future.
“I am extremely proud of our team's performance this year on and off the hardwood,” he said. “When I arrived in the spring I saw a group of girls looking for answers and I presented to them a "game plan" and they bought in from day one.”
He said the players answered every challenge he threw them throughout the year.
“Some of them could have easily packed their bags and took the easy way out, however, they accepted the challenges I put before them and showed some tenacity and perseverance,” Pippen said. “That in it self made them stronger people. They understood that when you keep a commitment, you become a stronger person. I call these people 11's. Out of 1-10, they are 11's.”
Pippen said he will miss his two seniors, Ashley Franklin and Michelle Copley, more than they could know.
“The hardest thing about being a head coach is saying goodbye to people you have grown to love,” he said. “Their dedication and team attitude has meant so much to our younger players.”
He said the seniors were great role models for the younger girls on the team and they helped set the bar higher for next season.
“If my daughter grows up possessing their character and integrity, I will consider my self a fortunate father,” he said. “They will always be a special part of our family.”
Pippen said he was excited about the possibilities of next year’s team.
“Our next step is to focus on individual improvement during our summer program,” he said. “We lose two of our top scorers so we have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to offensive fundamentals.”
Pippen has 13 out of 15 players returning, and says there will be plenty of opportunities for all players to compete against each other at all positions.
“There will be different goals and new expectations for next year,” he said. “One thing I do know; I am confident that our girls will step up and take on the commitment to get better.”