By Thomas Sellers Jr.
What was started under the guidance of former Head Coach Cameron Pridemore took the next step in 2019-20 under the leadership of new Head Coach Cedric Anderson.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels have been a force in Division II-A West Region basketball for the past three years. In year one under Anderson, the Lady Rebels finally reached Nashville and the State Tournament losing to Trinity Christian 64-59 in the Semifinals.
“I think that we have the experience this year to match the expectations,” Anderson said. “We have a good chance. You never know until the end of the season. We have to see how things go with the short preparation time. As we get into the season and once we get into the second phase of the season as far as district play, I’ll have a better idea of what we have.”
Anderson said teams like Trinity, Harding Academy, Northpoint and others will try to stop the Lady Rebels from taking another step forward. Seniors like Jordan Allen, Brianna Hall, Hannah Powell, Brooklyn Rose, Sarah Allyn Thornell and Mary Catherine Turner will be counted on to help the younger players understand the challenges of the elite in D-II.
“I expect leadership early and intensity early,” Anderson said. “They have to have accountability as far as themselves as well as their teammates. I want them to raise the level of expectations for everyone. So I want them to have a sense of urgency in the early part of the season before February when they realize this is their last season.”
Anderson is expecting his seniors to be the first to step up to replace the scoring of graduates Megan Sanfratello and Abby West. The pair of 1,000 career scorers left a hole on both sides of the ball.
“I expect it to be a shared load with Jordan Allen, Catherine Turner and Brianna Hall,” he noted. “Those three girls have been here for an extended time and they know the expectations. They know what this program can do and it’s time for them to take the next step and take this program to the next step. The next step is champions — a district championship for the season, Regional championship and a State Tournament championship.”
Anderson noted underclassmen that need to step up to contribute are Elyse Warren, and Raven Sims. He is looking for other players to step up to add to depth as the season progresses.