SALINA, OK —
Salina head girls basketball coach Mark Fraley will look to his underclassmen in 2013-14 to fill the void left by All-Region selection Kayla Morgan.
Morgan averaged 16.1 points and led Salina to a 14-12 record and a 2A regional consolation championship in 2012-13. “She’s hard to replace,” Fraley said.
Sophomores Courtney Condit and Cassi Barry will be called upon to pick up Morgan’s scoring load in 2013-14. Fraley said he “expects big things” from the 5-foot-9 forward Condit.
Barry, who filled the sixth-man role in Fraley’s scheme last year, will occupy the other post position. Fraley expects junior Courtney Scroggins to provide that toughness off the bench this season.
The lone senior starter, Kaisee Moore, will lock down the perimeter alongside another returning starter at guard, junior Morgan Littlefield. “Those are our two defensive girls that we really rely on,” Fraley said.
Rounding out the starting five will be Kayla Morgan’s sister, freshman point guard Shaylee Morgan. Fraley said he expects Morgan to perform well despite her youth.
“We’re pretty young this year,” Fraley said.
Salina boys coach Luke Folkerts is entering his second season at the Wildcats’ helm, and he returns four starters from 2012-13’s 3-20 campaign, including senior Cale Backward.
“Cale missed most of the first part of the season last year, but once he came back he really started to pick it up,” Folkerts said. “He’s one of the best shooters around.”
Cale’s cousin Coby Backward, a freshman, will replace exiting senior Clay Wade at the point guard slot.
“He’s got good skills,” Folkerts said. “We’re not going to skip a beat with him.”
Folkerts said with another season under their belts, this year’s Wildcats should be ready for a big improvement.
“We got better as the year went on last year,” Folkerts said. “We took Adair to overtime in our last game. It took a while, but now everyone is really learning the system.”
Junior double-double threat Colton Burgess and junior Tyler Underwood will patrol the paint for Salina. Senior Mark Cowan should see starter’s minutes, and Folkerts said he expects a big year from junior Kyle Johnson.
“He’s the best defender I’ve got. We’ll put him on the other team’s best player most nights. He’s a big part of what we do,” Folkerts said.
Sophomore reserves Bryce Kerns and the Mellowbug twins, Jared and Chase, will get some burn off of the bench as well, Folkerts said.
Salina is slated to open its season on the road at Chouteau Dec. 3. The boys and girls will play in three tournaments — the Adair Invitational Dec. 9-14, the Locust Grove Invitational Jan. 6-11 and the NEO Tournament Jan. 23-25.
On Jan. 21, the Salina girls will get their first shot at Kansas, which ended the Lady Wildcats’ season in an area tourney last year.
See the ScoreCard on Page 2B for Salina’s full 2013-14 schedule.