Lady Redskins trying to find identity

Loudon High School freshman Addison Garner drives down the court.

The Loudon High School Lady Redskins basketball team is implementing a snap-and-clear mentality following a tough 66-12 loss Friday to District 5-2A foe Meigs County High School.

After going scoreless in the first quarter and trailing 39-5 at halftime, LHS head girls basketball coach John Hii knew the score was not indicative of where the program is heading.

Loudon only had six players available last week in losses to Greenback and Meigs County.

“Obviously with only six bodies, it starts to get really tough,” Hii said. “Tuesday against Greenback, we played really, really well in the first half. Could we have cleaned up some stuff? Sure, but we played well enough. I think we were down three or four at halftime, and then we just ran out of gas. Whereas with Meigs on Friday, we played the best we could but the fact of the matter is Meigs is just a really good basketball team. It was a tough week, but it was a good week to be back.”

Despite a severe lack of depth, Hii has constantly encouraged the team the last two weeks.

“The overall message was that we control the things we can control, and we don’t worry about the things that we can’t worry about,” Hii said. “We can’t really control the fact that we’ve had so many injuries, and so we’re just working on things like, ‘We never quit, we never give up no matter what the score is, not matter what’s going on.’ We can control that and if we quit, that’s unacceptable.

“We’re also working on some of those team-skill things like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to talk on defense’,” he added. “If we’re not talking, what’s wrong? These are all things we can control, and we’ve seen ourselves get better. We’re just playing with only six, which makes everything difficult.”

The Lady Redskins are still without senior point guard Carrie Pittman, senior guard Chloe Rausin and senior forward Katelyn Fortman, which has forced seniors Summer Parnell and Abbi Fritts and junior Ashley Stoner to step up.

The coaching staff is also relying on heavy minutes from freshman point guard Addison Garner, as well as sophomores Kaela Correa and Anna Harrison.

“It’s not easy, of course, but it’s been a transition,” Garner said. “I think my team and my coach have really pushed me to lengths that I didn’t think I could possibly go at this age, and they’ve really encouraged me through this whole process and have believed in me most importantly. I’m very thankful for them.”

Garner’s role has increased the last two weeks since Pittman has been out, and Hii has been complimentary about the way she has stepped into a tough situation as a freshman.

“I hold myself to a very high standard, and I always think it’s my role to help my team in any possible way that I can,” Garner said. “It’s a very unfortunate position but if we believe in each other and keep each other going, I think we’ll be fine. It is hard and there is a lot of pressure, but I just do it for them because you play for the people next to you.”

The Lady Redskins took on the Sweetwater High School Lady Wildcats after the News-Herald presstime Tuesday and will play again at 6 p.m. Friday at home against the Polk County High School Lady Wildcats.

“I just want to continue to do things that we’ve been doing and, hopefully, we’ll get a little bit more production from the offensive end because it’s been a rough couple of games offensively for us,” Hii said. “Just having that understanding of when we do the things we can control, it gets a little fun and gets a little bit more condition so that we don’t run out of gas. Just continuing to build on those things we’ve been going over in practice, and nobody loves to lose, but I feel there’s been a very positive flow to the girls this week.”