Practice began last week for the Commerce High School Lady Tigers basketball team.

Coach Eddie McCurley said things are going well, but that he will have a very young team with only one returning senior when the season gets under way.

“We’ve got a couple of first-time senior players that will be added to the team, but with very little experience,” he said. “We’re going to be a team made up mostly of juniors and a couple of sophomores and a couple of freshmen. Right now, we’re not even sure we’re going to have enough for a J.V. program. We’re going to be very, very young.”

McCurley said because of the loss of a lot of their senior players from last year, including the team’s leading scorer, rebounders and defensive players, he has several young players who are going to have to step up and play.

“Obviously we have some talent coming up,” he said. ”Brittany Beauchamp came on strong at the end of last year, and played very well at the post. She’s going to have to improve a lot on her rebounding, and actually be one of the main posts rather than be one of those backup post players that came in and depended on other post players to do things.

“Skyler Beasley is also coming up from the JV team, and will be playing in the post. Lauren Jones will be returning as our lone senior starter. She’s really banged up right now. Both of her knees and an ankle have been giving her problems. So she’s not been anywhere close to full speed.”

McCurley said Logan Brown will move up from the JV team after playing well for the Lady Tigers in a backup role last year.

“We need her to step up and be one of our scorers,” he said.

McCurley also pointed to Jasmine Grier as a young player he is excited about.

“She really has the potential to step up and be a real producer for us,” he said. “She’s just a sophomore, coming off of a JV ninth grade year.”

Also returning will be Jessie Flint, who is currently out with a knee injury. McCurley says she’s expected to be out until October or November.

“That only gives us about six players who had any kind of playing experience last year, and we’re not sure who our backups are going to be,” he said.

McCurley says with the loss of so many seniors, his team is almost in the same situation it was last year with trying to get the younger players up to speed on fundamentals.

“We’ve got to learn the proper form, where to put the ball, how to pass the ball,” he said. “There’s still a lot of that going on. It’s even worse with the backups. We’re having to teach all those fundamentals just for those kids coming in on backup. So we’re further along than we were last year, but we’re not that much further along. We’ve still got a lot of teaching to do.”

With only two players coming back with any substantial playing time on the varsity team, McCurley said the upcoming season will be a test.

“This is really going to test my coaching ability and patience,” he said. “I’m going to have to work really, really hard this year.”

The team scrimmaged last Friday at Hart County, and will scrimmage at Madison County this week. Next week, the Lady Tigers will scrimmage with the Lady Dragons in Jefferson.

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