GIRLS' BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Mustangs try to return to winning ways

Nov. 3—NEW WASHINGTON — New Washington looks to return to its winning ways this season.

After going 14-10 in 2021-22, the Mustangs dropped below the .500 mark — but just barely — in 2022-23, posting a 11-12 record.

With the return of three starters, including senior standout Kaidin James, New Wash should have a good shot at returning to the positive side of the ledger.

"Our challenge this season, to our players, is to defeat each day. Which isn't just a basketball necessity, but a life lesson," ninth-year Mustangs head coach Kirsti Holloway said.

According to Holloway, her team will rely on six principles — discipline, energy, focus, enthusiasm, attitude and being a good teammate.

"It's not easy to be consistent in all of these areas, but these are the values that we believe we must embrace on a daily basis in order to maximize our abilities on and off the basketball court," she said. "I look forward to seeing what we can achieve if we are able to hone in on them whether it be on the practice court, in the weight room or during games."

Back to lead the way is James. Last season, the 5-foot-7 wing averaged 21.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 1.3 assists per game on her way to being selected third-team All-State by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association. She was also one of 90 to garner Underclass All-State honorable mention from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

The two other returning starters are 5-8 senior wing Sami Mattingly and 5-2 junior guard Olivia Bower.

Also back are 5-7 junior wings Kristyn Greenwell and Emily Bottorff as well as 5-9 sophomore forward Kaylee Lawrence, a standout for the volleyball team.

Three newcomers who could contribute are 5-5 junior guard Natalie Spencer, 5-6 sophomore Izzy Ford and 5-10 freshman forward Ava Lathem.

The Mustangs opened their season with a 63-21 triumph at Medora on Thursday night.