Lady Raiders Continue Scorching District Stretch

They handle Soddy-Daisy 78-23.

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Lady Raiders Continue Scorching District Stretch

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The Cleveland Lady Raiders have come a LONG way since going 2-23 in the 2015-2016 season.

Some of that can be attributed to Coach Tony Williams, and also the girls for completely buying in to the complete culture change.

They’re 14-11 this season and 8-1 in the district. They’ve overcome a great amount of adversity over the last month… and have won 5 in a row.

An incredibly promising aspect of the season so far has been the emergence of the young Lady Raiders. Mariyah Person, Kara Williams, Brenna Droke and Joy Douglass are all sophomores, and they’ve all emerged as potential stars for our team. They’ve been getting some big minutes, and they’ve proven they deserve to keep playing.

The leadership aspect is also another reason for the Lady Raiders’ success. Seniors Madison Dasher and Kaitlyn Goodman have started a good majority of the games this season for the Lady Raiders, and with as many young girls as there are on the team, they’ve been tasked with stepping up.

On Tuesday night against Soddy Daisy, it was complete and utter domination. The final was 78-23, and if it weren’t for the TSSAA mercy rule, our girls very well could have dropped 100.

Sophomore Kara Williams took over in the second half. She knocked down a three on 3 straight possessions, and ended up with 5 threes total. We’re definitely glad she’s back, and though I’ll be gone after this year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see her win District Player of the Year by the time her career is over.

A few players who are vital to the squad, though they mayn’t light up the stat sheet, are Megan Rouse and Emily Rominger. They’re the “glue girls” for the team. Rominger dives after every lose ball, and doesn’t take any plays off. Rouse has become quite the rim protector for the Lady Raiders, as well. They deserve some recognition for what they do.

Now, because they’re a young team, there will always be growing pains. You can see the growth from even just this season for the Lady Raiders. For Joy Douglass’s first half of the season, she’d attempt to split nearly every double team and throw up a shot attempting to draw a foul.

But you can tell that’s something Coach Williams has noticed, and something she’s been working on. Even just against Soddy Daisy, when the double team came, instead of looking to shoot, she’d look for Kaitlyn Goodman in the corner, or maybe for Kara Williams on the wing. It may have been growing pains, but it’s promising for what’s to come for the Lady Raiders.

The Lady Raiders next matchup is a familiar foe: Bradley Central. The Bearettes are always a talented squad, but without superstar Rhyne Howard this season, they’ve shown they’ve slipped a bit.

In the first matchup this season, Cleveland was shorthanded but still kept it relatively close in the first half. With Kara Williams playing this time… it makes an impact. Last time, the Bearettes clearly centered their defense around double teaming Douglass to exploit the then-usual mistake. But with her growth, and the return of a sharpshooter like Williams.. this outcome could be different. I’m anxious to see what the Lady Raiders can do with Kara can do against the Bearettes.

X Factor: Bailey Anderson: Anderson has been getting big minutes nearly all of her high school career, and she exploded onto the scene her freshman year. She still has some superstar flashes, but she’s not as aggressive as she used to be. I think if Bailey is aggressive in her scoring as the point guard, it will open up the rest of the team to knock down the three ball or Douglass to score in the paint.

I look forward to this matchup against Bradley Central, and I believe wholeheartedly in the Lady Raiders.