Nov. 15—ANDERSON — With only three players graduating from last year's 8-15 season, the Anderson girls basketball team returns its top scorer as well as a potential breakout player this season.
There will be new faces, however, and they will be occupying key positions as Anderson looks to reclaim prominence in both Madison County and in the postseason.
Aaron Boyd takes over as head coach after Joe Adams departed following one season at the helm. This is Boyd's first go-around as a varsity head coach and, in addition to a tradition of success — including a recent run of four straight Madison County championships — he also inherits a tough schedule that includes the likes of Lapel, Fishers, Mount Vernon, Pike and the always difficult tour of the North Central Conference.
He knows the season will be about learning and improving.
"Hopefully, we can match their energy and play up to our competition," Boyd said.
A good place to start for this team is the return of leading scorer Jacelyn Starks. The junior guard averaged 14.4 points last season and was a 35% shooter from 3-point range and converted free throws at 70%. She enters her senior campaign with over 600 career points and is excited about this season and the prospects of reaching the career 1,000-point milestone.
But she is eyeing team success first. "We're all just working together, and I want to be the one they call on," Starks said.
She will have a new backcourt partner after the departure of Zoe Allen to graduation. Anderson will miss Allen's 7 points per game as well as the state hurdle finalist's quickness on defense, where she averaged 3.2 steals.
Enter former Muncie Central point guard Gabby Douglas, who averaged 13.5 points and 3.5 steals last season for the Bearcats.
The graduations of Makhile McWilliams (7.7 points, 5.1 rebounds) and Payton Sargent (4 points, 2.7 rebounds) means others will have to step up, and a prime candidate is Kennedy Brown.
The junior guard is a threat from outside (34% 3-point shooting) and averaged 7.7 points a year ago.
Another is senior Drayaunna Ivy, who averaged 5.9 points last season while sophomore Jamiya Foster (2.5 points) also saw plenty of varsity action last season. Freshman Ariah Scott is expected to contribute right away.
"We have to work together. We have a new coach, six seniors and a couple good freshmen," Starks said. "We want to win county again, and I think it's very possible with the way things are going."
"We've got to get the concept of blocking out, and we've got to pay attention to details," Boyd said. "It's the little things."
Anderson has won nine Madison County championships — the last was in 2021 — and seeks its first sectional title since 2014. The Indians will open county play in January against Pendleton Heights while the Arabians, Mount Vernon, New Palestine, Greenfield-Central, Richmond and Muncie Central are the other schools in their sectional.
Contact Rob Hunt at email@example.com or 765-640-4886.