PRYOR, OK —
As Pryor head girls basketball coach Kim Barth begins her third season at the helm of the Lady Tiger program, she'll have plenty of young faces looking back at her in the huddle.
Freshman Hunter Gilstrap, Barth's expected starting point guard, is just one of many underclassmen that will try to help the Pryor girls' basketball program get back to its winning ways.
"We've had a lot of success in our junior high program, and hopefully we can carry that success over to the high school," Barth said.
After raising four state championship banners at Woodward, Barth has faced a tough challenge in Pryor. The Lady Tigers won just two games last season, but they lose only one senior starter in Tara Shelby.
Barth expects senior Ofy Chavoya and sophomore Kelsie Kerns to lead the renaissance this season.
"The girls are ready to raise the bar and get better," Barth said. "We're trying to speed things up, get up and down the floor a lot more. We're trying to be a lot more aggressive with our man defense and throw up some more zone defense."
Tiffany Atkins and Amanda Green join Chavoya as the lone seniors on the squad. Aside from one or two more juniors, the Lady Tigers are all two or three years from graduation.
They'll be tested early, too.
"We start out with a tough schedule," Barth said. "We start out with Bishop Kelley (Dec. 3), and we have Fort Gibson in the first round of the Inola Tournament."
Fort Gibson went 29-1 in 2012-13 en route to a Class 4A state title.
"No matter how we start out, we are just going to get better as we progress through the season as long as we stick together and sell out to what we're doing," Barth said. "With this young group, I hope by March we're getting up and down the floor and playing the style of ball we want to play."
In addition to the Inola Tournament Dec. 9-14, Pryor will host the Pryor Invitational Jan. 20-25.