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Former Lady Bears coach Richard Dooley had patiently molded a team together that turned the corner last season, compiling a winning record for the first time in several years. Last week, Daniel Cox kept the girls marching in the same direction with two wins in three games, including the season opening 32-24 win to mark the beginning of his tenure.
Cox deflected any mention of his first victory, saying the season is about the girls and keeping them focused on playing winning basketball.
“This year is about the team becoming one, indivisible unit,” he said. “A team where everyone does what is needed of them.”
He said changing coaches can be hard on a team, but said he wants to do his small part to keep the progress going.
The Lady Bears rallied from behind to take visiting Bardstown last Tuesday night, paced by Kenisha Marshall’s 14 points and 16 rebounds. Chelsea Gross added seven points and 7 rebounds for a solid performance as the girls overcame some first-game jitters.
The Lady Bears left a lot of points at the free-throw line, where they connected only nine of 23 attempts, and missed several easy baskets, but Cox was impressed by the way they overcame those shortcomings.
On Thursday, the girls hosted Western Hills, falling 44-32. Marshall again led in scoring with 11 points and 16 rebounds while Shelby Pfieffer and Gross both added seven, with Gross also collecting seven steals.
Following a short break, the girls were in action again on Friday night, hosting North Oldham and notching an impressive 47-34 victory with Marshall scoring 18 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking eight shots.
Gross had another solid game with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five steals and Sydney Spencer poured in a dozen points.
A 2-1 in the early season, Cox sees the never-give-up mentality as a strength of the team but said they still have room for improvement in the area of attitude.
“Confidence and focus, plain and simple,” he said.
“Spencer County basketball teams of the past have lost confidence and focus in the big games later in the year. In order to be successful, this team needs to realize that they can beat anyone if they stay focused and confident.
Success during the first week may go along way in providing those key ingredients.
The girls will travel to Campbellsville this Thursday night for a game and will return home for a doubleheader with the boys against North Bullitt, beginning at 6 p.m.