The State Fair womens basketball team tips off the second semester on Saturday with a trip to Penn Valley. Coach Kevin Bucher will send a team onto the court which is healthier than it was to start the season as players begin to return from injuries which hampered the Lady Roadrunners early on.
“We have pretty well everybody but one who will be able to play,” Kevin Bucher said. “We’re fully stacked. We have some sophomores and the experience factor helps. I know the young ladies are hungry and ready to compete.”
After the Penn Valley game and a home game against Arkansas Baptist on Wednesday, the Lady Roadrunners jump into Region 16 play with games against Three Rivers and Moberly, two teams which come out of the semester break with 10-2 records.
“You never know from year to year which team is going to be the team that’s right there at the top and this year it’s that situation for us,” Bucher said. “Our big thing is to have some games to prepare before region play.”
Not only do the Lady Roadrunners get two final tune-ups in January before facing region teams, they spent November and December going head-to-head with touch teams in non-region play, including a Butler (Kan.) team currently ranked No. 8 in the nation in the NJCAA Division I poll.
“I’m hoping that with the really tough teams we played, that will give us some experience and we can handle the tough teams that we play in our region,” Bucher said.
Three Lady Roadrunners average in double figures in scoring. Sophomore guards Antoinette Taylor and Apiphany Woods lead the way averaging 15.1 and 12.7 points per game respectively but freshman low post player Alecia Cooley has gotten involved in the scoring as well, averaging 10.7 points per game as well as pulling down 7.4 rebounds per game.
“She’s stepping in as a freshman and has done a great job,” Bucher said. “That’s something we haven’t had here in a while, not since Ebony Davis.”
Bucher hopes the presence in the paint from Cooley and 6-2 sophomore Sydonia Daniels will help against teams like Three Rivers, who can counter with 6-0 post player Anna Vogt. Vogt scored 25 points the first time State Fair faced Three Rivers last season and she is averaging 19.4 points and 10-5 rebounds per game this season.
“We didn’t have anybody that can stop her last year,” Bucher said. “This year we finally have some bigs that can go after her and give us some help inside.”