February 8, 2023

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The Sports Fanatics

PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lady Vikings go in different direction | Sports

DANVILLE — With a majority of their offense from last year gone, Danville girls basketball coach Glennie Watson has to go for a different approach from last season.

But Watson said that going into his second season at the helm, he has more time to get things going.

“Coming into this season, we return six seniors and we are lacking in scoring and different things like that,” Watson said. “This season verses last season, we have more time to prepare. Taking the job late last season, it was tough to really implement a system, so we come in a little more prepared compared to last year.”

It would have been easier is Soriah Gouard was still on the team. The sophomore guard was an Big 12 special mention selection as a freshman, but she moved in the offseason to Indianapolis, where she now plays at Decatur Central High School.

“Her mother relocated and she had to transfer, but it was a big loss,” Watson said. “She was young, aspiring and the future is bright for her. So we miss her and we hope she does well. She was my second leading-scorer behind Nau’Tika Conaway, so it will be a collective effort when it comes to scoring.”

The bulk of the scoring will come from returning players who were part of a team that went to a regional semifinal last season.

“Amara McFarland split time between JV and varsity, but she will be on varsity this year,” Watson said. “Cheyenne Walls is a returning senior. Diamond Landfair is a returning guard, Gianna Winston is my post player and we have a few more seniors that will contribute like Mackenzie Blanden and Dejahnae Taylor.”

Among newcomers, Watson is depending on Aleelyah Rudy, who is coming off playing for the Danville volleyball team.

“Aleelyah Rudy is long and wiry and an all-around athlete. She will be a newcomer that will make an impact,” Watson said. “We also have Layla Johnson and she has splashes of making an impact.”

Watson knows that defense will be the way for the Vikings to succeed as they find an offense.

“When you return without anyone that scored two points a game, you have to start on the defensive end,” Watson said. “We are a well-rounded team that has to start on the defensive end. On offense we will have to have a lot of players step up and make some offense from the defense as well.”

The Lady Vikings start the season today against Charleston at the Paris Invitational.

“Charleston always have a solid program and they will be fundamentally sound, well-coached and patient offensively,” Watson said. “You have to really be a fundamentally sound team to shut them down because they are going to look for the shot they are wanting.”

Watson said that the hard work that the team is putting in during the offseason and during this season will be a major key in the success of the Lady Vikings.

“We are a veteran team on player and we are young as well,” Watson said. “Just as I am a coach that is learning on the fly, the girls are learning as well and we are working hard and buying in and working hard. I tell them everyday that as long as you are willing to embrace the grind, you will get something positive out of it.”