By Ronald Frazier
Glenwood girls basketball coach Julie Humphries admits that the 2018-2019 will be a challenge for her and it is one that she is excited about getting started.
The Lady Gators will have an eight-man varsity with two returning starters plus several other players that saw action in last’s year’s season when the Gators finished just one game for another state championship.
“This will be a year when honestly, I will have a team that will be an underdog in games which is something we are not used to,” admitted Humphries of her charges, ”We may take some lumps in the early part of the year but by region play time after Christmas, we should be ready.”
The key will be three players returning, all from serious injuries that either limited their play or ended their season.
First will be Morgan Grant who had shoulder surgery that put her on the sidelines after the 2018 title game. Despite a torn labrum in her shoulder, she scored nine points and ten rebounds in a two-point loss to Tuscaloosa Academy in the title contest. Grant was out for the entire softball season but got the surgery to prepare for 2018-19 basketball and softball.
She was not the only injured player. Guard Jaycee Griggs, who saw regular action off the bench and had already had one knee surgery, tore her ligament in the other knee and was on the bench with a knee brace during the state tournament and did not return after surgery.
“Jaycee is back and she is playing without the braces so I hope she will be ready. We will be counting on her,” said Humphries.
Also returning from knee surgery is guard Katie Suarez. Suarez once a three-point sharp-shooter who played with abandon before her surgery had an un-even year scoring last season but hopes to bounce back.
Payton Corbett, who was a defensive standout, is expected to be one of the five starters. She shadowed Tuscaloosa’s state title MVP Kelsey Curry and bothered her in the region 1 championship contest when the Gators upset the then No. 1 Lady Knights.
Macie Fanning will also be expected to see more action than last year coming off the bench as well as Cassie Kile and newcomer Ariana Pinder. JV starter Olivia Sharp will also be expected to contribute, now on the varsity.
“Everyone will have to do their part and we cannot expect Morgan to carry us (in scoring) every night. Everyone must contribute and we will be running different offenses and defenses than we have done in the past.” Humphries finalized.