Coach Erick Baird has made a habit of having talented freshmen move straight into the varsity lineup during his tenure as Warren County High School girls basketball coach. With more talent coming in, the trend could continue this year.
Coach Baird selected his freshman team over the weekend, while also dealing with some attrition to his varsity roster.
Coach Baird has 13 freshmen joining the Lady Pioneers from schools around Warren County. Madison Mason, Natalie Reed, Tatum Young, Elsa Eckenrod and Neva Tackett made the cut after playing last year at WCMS.
Players from county schools include Hope Valenta and Alli Howard from Centertown, Rylan Moore and Jayden Smith from Eastside, Dibrell’s Sianna Womack and Boyd’s Anna Bain. Hailey Taylor and Jordan Bess round out the freshman team.
Several freshmen will have a chance to make an immediate impact on the Lady Pioneer varsity team as coach Baird has three starting spots opening up. Seniors Rachel Nokes and Megan Dishman graduated and last year’s leading scorer Bri Melton has decided to transfer to Smith County.
Coach Baird will lean heavily on his returning senior class that includes Camerie Martin, Jessie Newby, Lexy Holmes and McKenna Dixon. The varsity team also includes last year’s starting shooting guard Brittany Myers, who will be a junior. Other juniors making the varsity team are Emily Scott and Haley Jennings.
Coach Baird is hopeful the sophomore class can make a big impact this season as Saydee Winfree, Lexi Rowland, Kristen Rowland, Allison Hitchock and Marlee Smith all return after getting minutes as freshman last year when the team finished 13-18.
Coach Baird’s staff returns assistants Erica Bragg and Anthony Lippe. Eden Fann, who coached the Irving College Lady Tigers last year, will also be a part of the team’s coaching staff.
The Lady Pioneers will participate in a number of camps this summer, including the Summer Shootout held at Charlie Dalton Gym this week.
Coach Baird has invited a number of teams to come to Warren County this year for the annual event, with one coming from overseas. Wisla, a powerhouse basketball program from Poland, is one of 10 teams playing in this year’s Summer Shootout held at Dibrell Elementary School Thursday and Friday.
Coach Baird has split his team into three groups: varsity, junior varsity and freshmen. The Lady Pioneers have a number of games scheduled over two days, including the varsity team playing Wisla Thursday at 5 p.m. in the school’s new gym.
Other Warren County varsity games include playing Monterey at 8 a.m., Grundy County at noon and Trousdale County at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Pioneer varsity team also plays Stratford at 8 a.m. and Moore County at 4 p.m. Friday.
The WCHS junior varsity and freshmen teams are scheduled to play at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday.