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Experienced Tyler Hoping for Improvements

SISTERSVILLE — Tyler Consolidated girls’ basketball coach Tommy Phillips wants to show that his Lady Knights are better than the four wins they posted during last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

And with four returning starters in the mix, Phillips has a very good starting point to do just that. Along with those four starters there are also a total of 10 letter-winners set to hit the floor for the 2021-22 campaign.

“We are a pretty experienced team,” Phillips said. “We lost two everyday starters from last year, but we have four girls coming back that all have starting experience, along with a really good freshman class.

“I’m just glad that everything appears to be getting back to normal. It was a shame last year that the girls had so many games that we got very few practices in. They were worn out, and that really hurt us, but they are back and ready to go this season.”

Leading the way is a trio of senior returning starters in 5-7 guard Caleigh Phillips, 5-1 guard Landry Buchanan and 5-9 forward Lauren Templeton. Twin sister Briann Templeton (5-9, guard) also logged plenty of minutes as a junior while exchange student Anna Vollmer (5-5, guard), from Greece, is also available.

The fourth returning starter is sophomore Braedan Wall (5-8, guard) while a pair of junior lettermen will also be valuable in Leah Loudin (5-6, forward) and Mallory Westbrook (5-3, guard). The remaining juniors are Havannah Lemasters (5-9, forward) and trinity Kanz (5-10, forward).

Another three returning sophomores are Regan Stover (5-4, forward/guard), Isabella Throckmorton (5-4, guard) and Kathryn Throckmorton (5-4, guard). A talented freshman class is paced by Juliana Lattea (5-6, forward), Alexis Livingston (5-7, forward) and Makenzie Henthorn (5-4, guard).

Gone from last year’s team are starters Regan Smith and Kelsi Vandruff. Slade Buchanan will be Phillips’ assistant coach.

“We are looking to correct some of the things that we did wrong last year,” Phillips said. “And we are really looking forward to a good season. Our experience from last year has already been helping and we have six true leaders out there directing traffic at every practice.

“Everybody has been helping everybody out and trying to step up their games. We are out to prove we are better than a four-win team.

“With the leadership that we have communication on the floor has been great, and while we have the ability to be physical, we need to go out and make shots. We did have a couple of girls take the season off this year, so we are lacking a little bit at the guard position.

“Defense and rebounding should be strong points for us, and I really like our arm length. Caleigh (Phillips) is amongst the school’s all-time steals leaders which is a big plus on the defensive end. We have also worked hard on shooting and ball-handling.

Tyler Consolidated is located in the North division of the Little Kanawha Conference, which Phillips believes is a good thing.

“The North is loaded, and every team is going to be good and going to be a real test for us,” Phillips admitted. “But that is only going to make us better for tournament time. That is what we need to be playing to get ready for sectionals. The schedule is tough with our non-LKC teams as well, so it should be an interesting season.”

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