Injuries to key players took its toll on the New Franklin Lady Bulldogs basketball team in 2017-18.
While closing out the season at 7-19 overall under head coach Morgan Vetter, the Lady Bulldogs looked to build off last season with seven players suited up for the 2018-19 campaign.
“We have an extremely small squad, but this is a very competitive and athletic group,” Vetter said. “We will strive to stay healthy, together, and find consistency within our team. New faces along with returning faces make for a good combination on the floor in my opinion.”
Vetter is still trying to find the right combination but has three players returning from last year in seniors Shelby Breshears and Lauren Evans and sophomore Madelyn Chaney.
Other returning players to go along with key addition this season for the Lady Bulldogs are Campbell Cooper, Kayce Hundley, Abby Maupin and Kristen Flick.
While it’s no secret that the Lady Bulldogs have to avoid foul trouble this season with only two players coming off the bench, Vetter said “Hustle and heart” will go along way toward a successful season.
“Our team goals for the season are consistency, positive energy and not give up,” Vetter said, “and we also want to build off of our season last year.”
While averaging 40 ppg last year along with 27.3 rpg, 9.6 apg and  6.3 spg, the Lady Bulldogs will also look to improve in several other areas such as turnovers while averaging 14.4 tpg and free throw shooting while converting on 156 of 305 attempts for 51 percent.
Vetter said along with being a athletic and aggressive team, this is also a smart group of girls. However the one drawback to having such a small squad, Vetter said that stamina could possibly be a weakness as the season progresses.
As for the conference this season, Vetter said she would assume that Cairo and Community will compete for the top spots this year. She said as always the conference is stacked. “I believe our team will compete somewhere in the middle of the pack,” Vetter said.
While losing five seniors from last year’s team, three of which were starters, Vetter will have to rely on seniors Shelby Breshears and Lauren Evans to lead the team this season.
Playing in only eight games last year before a knee injury ended her season, Breshears still managed to put up 92 points in eight games for an average of 11.5 ppg along with 7.1 rpg, 2.62 apg and 2.25 spg. She also shot 47 percent from the field in eight games and scored in double figures in five games while scoring a season-high 26 points against Slater.
Vetter said Breshears is a long, lanky defender with great speed. “Shelby is just such a great leader on the floor,” Vetter said.
As for Evans, she played in 24 of the team’s 26 games and finished the season with 123 points  for an average of 5.1 ppg along with 94 rebounds for 3.9 rpg and 55 assists for 2.3 apg. Evans also hit on 31 of 56 shots from the foul line for 55 percent.
Vetter said Evans is a great attacker and solid finisher. “Lauren works hard and is another leader on the team,” Vetter said.
Evans will play the guard position along with Chaney, who played in 25 of the team’s 26 games last year as a freshman. While finishing with 71 points for an average of 2.84 ppg, Chaney also finished the season with 37 rebounds for a 5’-0” guard along with shooting 50 percent from the foul line.
Vetter said Chaney sees the floor well and is a good ballhandler. “Madelyn is a pesky defender,” Vetter said.
Other players that will have to step up their game for the Lady Bulldogs to be successful are Campbell Cooper, who had 31 points in 25 games, and Hundley, who played in 12 games last year and grabbed nine rebounds.
Vetter said Cooper is a good defender and can play multiple positions, while Hundley does the little things and is a verbal leader. “We will look to Cooper to play the guard position while Hundley will play in the post,” Vetter said.
As for freshmen Abby Maupin and Kristen Flick, Vetter said both players have nice size at 5’-9” and 5’-8”, respectively. “Abby is an all-around athlete. She is a good ballhandler and also a long and lanky defender,” Vetter said. “As for Kristen, she is strong, aggressive and smart. She is also an experienced player and a vocal leader.”