West Carter Lady Comets will turn to experience for an edge.
The Lady Comets return the bulk of last season’s team and a ton of experience. The current team has three seniors, Ragan Adkins, Kallie Burchett and Becca Nolen, all having played on the varsity team since eighth grade year.
The senior trio returns 22.4 points and just shy of ten rebounds per game. Burchett returns 10.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. She led the Lady Comets to victory over Berea in the second game of the All “A” State tournament. Burchett’s persistence around the basket is expected to add to this season's offensive prowess.
Nolen returns 8.0 points and 3.4 rebounds. Nolen was the Comets’ leading scorer as an eighth grader in 2015/2016. She averaged 11.7 points per game. As a freshman she suffered an ACL injury early and sat out the majority of the season. She returned as a sophomore averaging 8.5 points per game.
Adkins adds another 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds. Adkins has been in the varsity rotation since her eighth grade season. She played 30 games as a middle schooler and has remained among the team’s top players. Her vocal leadership and exceptional defense has been paramount.
The Lady Comets expect for Allie Stone to once again rise to the occasion. The sophomore guard has been the Lady Comets leading scorer for three seasons. As a mere seventh grader, Stone led the team to a 19-14 finish having averaged 12.1 points per game.
Her eighth grade season, she scored 564 points, averaging 17.1 points per game. She was just 37 points shy of her 1000th career point going into her freshman year.
Stone blew past her 100th point with 40 points in the season opener against East Carter. Stone shot an impressive 12 for 19 from the field, made five out of 10 three point attempts and was nearly perfect from the free throw line shooting 11 for 12.
Stone ended last season with 671 points, 20.3 points per game. She was second in rebounds with 4.4 rebounds per game behind graduated senior Morgan Berry’s 7.1 rebounds.
The Comets lost three seniors last season, Berry, Hannah Bear and Madison Hanshaw. They graduated 20.6 points per game and 11.2 rebounds.
Berry’s presence under the basket will be missed. The near six-foot tall power forward gave the Lady Comets some much needed height.
This year’s team will remain primarily small, but exceptionally fast. With Stone out front causing havoc. The Lady Comets will expect to play fast and score a lot on transition.
Stone along with the rest of the Lady Comets program has made it a goal to once again step up their efforts on defense.
“I am really hoping to get my defense really great this year. I have always been known as a good defenders, but I always feel like I can do better, always go harder,” said Stone in her preseason interview with MyTownTV and the Ashland Daily Independent as part of the Northeast KY High School Basketball Media day Nov. 9..
The biggest change for the Lady Comets program this season is welcoming a new head coach Faith Conn.
Conn is a graduate of Rowan County. She played four years with the Kentucky Christian Lady Knights and has accepted the position as head coach of the Lady Comets this summer after Coach Aaron Rayburn stepped down.
“Everything has been so smooth. Aaron left a great program and he has developed these girls so much already. Walking in knowing these girls already have the knowledge and the background has been great,” said first year Coach Faith Conn during her interview with MyTownTV and the Ashland Daily Independent.
Conn has coaching in her blood. The daughter of Lisa Conn, the head coach of the KCU Lady Knights, Faith will pass on the knowledge she has learned from years of playing under her mother. Conn expects to parallel a lot of her mother coaching styles but also add a bit of her own.
Despite the coaching change, the Lady Comets will continue to play an exceptionally tough schedule.
The Lady Comets take on the bulk of this year’s top 16th region teams in the first two weeks of the regular season.
“We’re coming out in two week’s with some tough games to start with. It will be good. It will help us come March,” said Conn.
They take on Ashland in the season opener Dec. 2, and follow up playing Russell Dec. 7th in the first round of the EKC tournament. They will face Boyd, Lewis County and Rowan County before Christmas.