The Saratoga Sun -

By Tom Dixon 

Tigers start fresh, face trial by fire

 

Encampment head coach Amy Clay lost last year’s entire starting lineup and then some, and a short bench means four freshman are going to get a trial by fire.

“They’re going to get thrown into starting roles,” Clay said. “I think it’s going to be tough in the beginning, but in the years to come, they are going to benefit.”

Junior Jennifer Morgan is the only Tiger who saw court time last year, so her leadership is going to be key for the young team.

Showing Encampment School’s team spirit, senior Ashley Loftice rejoined the team after a year off to help fill out the roster.

Their first order of business is going to be re-establishing the defensive dominance that helped the Lady Tigers to an 11-10 record last season. Encampment allowed just 35.5 points per game. The ladies will not be able to press much this year because they do not have the bench to support it, but Clay expects her team to push themselves to the limit just the same.

“I’m impressed by their work ethic,” Clay said. “We have some girls who, in practice, shine, but against experienced teams, it’s going to be a different deal.”

Clay also hopes to have some success running the same offense, which generated 40.8 points per game, as last year.

Loftice and Morgan can be counted on to tamp down on opponents down low, and freshman Cassidy Little is set to clog the lanes off the bench, but Encampment will rely on their guard speed more than years past.

Encampment was dominant in non-conference games last season, splitting with rivals Saratoga and North Park, and beating Rock River. The Lady Tigers went just 2-6 in 1A Southwest, a conference that has ruled the 1A State tournament since 2010, including two state championships from Little Snake River and Cokeville. Encampment’s conference wins came against Farson-Eden.

“They’re just going to have to get in there and battle,” Clay said. “At the beginning they’re going to take their lumps, but they’ll figure it out and see where we can get.”

The Tigers have key games coming up against HEM Jan. 5 at home and against Farson-Eden on the road Jan. 19.

Encampment will need patience, perseverance and tenacity this year, but they will also get a lot of experience in a very short amount of time, which could mean good things down the road.

“We’re going to work hard, play hard and whatever happens, happens.”

The Lady Tigers’ regular season is already underway after last night’s road game against Rock River.

 

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