Written by: Chris Kessler
The VSU Lady Blazers will look to get their season started on the right foot when they play their season-opener this Monday against Trinity Baptist, despite battling with injuries in the pre-season.
Despite being limited in the pre-season, Coach Kiley Hill isn’t lowering his expectations.
“If our expectations aren’t high this time of year, then I probably need to get out of the profession,” Hill said. “I think this team has a chance to be very, very good.”
The good news for the Lady Blazers is they are expected to have at least 10 players available on Monday. The bad news is they’re still unsure of who will start.
“We probably have a set three, but it’s going to come down to a couple kids and what they do in our scrimmage when we go to Columbus for a quick scrimmage,” Hill said. “We’ll see how that goes, and I’ll make a determination on Saturday. It’s just a matter of us figuring out who can do what and who can play the best together. It may not be the best players, but it’ll be the five who play the best together.”
It’s safe to say VSU won’t be fully in sync yet, but Coach Hill still demands effort from his team despite the adversity.
“There are two things we demand and expect, one is maximum effort and two is playing through positions, and that is the foundation for the other things we’re doing,” Hill said. “I’m going to put the kids who do two things, one is play with all their heart on every possession, and they’re going to play through possession. Those kids do that and defend every possession and somewhere in that find a shot and not turn it over, those kids are going to play.”
Trinity Baptist is coming off a 25-7 campaign from last season that saw the Eagles go undefeated in the NCCAA Southeast Region. However, the Eagles have struggled out of the gate with a 0-2 record.
“They’re very athletic and can take you off the (dribble), and if we don’t play smart it won’t be good for us,” Hill said. “We’re going to have to able to shoot well from the perimeter, we’ll have to play inside-out, they’ll play us a ton of zone, they’ll press a little bit, we have to be very fundamental, and offensively we have to attack with a purpose. We’re going to have to defend well, we better be able to (rebound) well, and we have to be able to value to basketball. Those are the three big ones, and if we can do that we can put ourselves in a good position for success.”
VSU defeated Trinity Baptist in last season’s opener 64-51.
The Lady Blazers will have their mental toughness tested just as much as their basketball ability in the early parts of the season as they deal with injuries.�
“We’re trying to figure out who’s willing to consistently be a practice player as well as a game player,” Hill said.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday at the P.E. Complex.