Cane Bay High School girls basketball coach Ira Owens said his team enters a new season with an eye on the postseason.
The Lady Cobras bring back five players from last year when they went 8-13 overall and 2-6 against Region 7-AAAA foes. They finished fourth in the region standings in 2012-13, just one spot out of the playoffs.
“A realistic goal is for us to make the playoffs,” Owens said. “I think my first five will be competitive with anybody. After that we’re going to be really young. It’s just a matter of how quickly the new ones can adapt and learn.”
Another key will be team shooting percentage, he added.
The leading scorer returning is senior guard Makayla Dudley, who has been in the varsity program since the school opened. Last season, she averaged team highs in 8.2 points, 3.2 steals and 2.3 assists.
Senior forward Brett Pitcher and senior guard Lindsay Manning have also been in the Lady Cobras’ program since 2008. Manning missed all but three games with a knee injury last winter, though. She averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds before getting hurt.
“She has to get herself back into the flow of playing basketball,” Owens said.
Sophomore post player Shameque Robinson is back too after averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds. She got extra time last season when Pitcher was out with a knee injury.
“Her coordination is starting to catch up with her growth,” Owens said of Robinson. “She played well when she got her chance. We need to get (Robinson and Pitcher) working together. Both of them have good size and can shoot it well from 10 to 12 feet.”
Pitcher ended up playing in 13 games last winter, averaging 2.6 points and 2.8 boards a game.
Senior guard Shelby Kimbro is another key player. She saw action in 17 games in 2012-13 and has gained some confidence in the offseason, Owens said.
Other players are senior guard Traci Howell, junior guard Jasmine Perez, freshman wing Regina King, freshman forward Abby Lee, freshman guard Ricki Henry and eighth-grade forward Savannah Hollifield.
The Lady Cobras begin the season Monday at Berkeley before hosting Ashley Ridge on Friday, Dec. 6.
Cane Bay swept Berkeley last winter, winning both games by double digits. Ashley Ridge swept the Lady Cobras, winning two meetings by a total of 13 points.
They host Hanahan on Dec. 9 and Stall on Dec. 11.
Region play begins at West Ashley on Jan. 14.
Owens said the Lady Wildcats are the clear favorite to win the region but expects the rest of the region matchups to be competitive battles.
“West Ashley is the favorite by far,” Owens said. “Goose Creek has their tradition and their reputation too. Both games we had last year with Wando were competitive and Stratford is improving. Those are the games we need to win.”