PORTSMOUTH – The Portsmouth Lady Trojans, coming off a season in which they doubled their win totals from a season prior are hoping to take yet another leap up the totem pole in head coach Amy Hughes second year at the helm.
After an 8-13 campaign (4-10 OVC), the Lady Trojans return four starters following the graduation of All-OVC first-teamer Jasmine Eley. Senior all-OVC honorable mention Hannah Hughes, as well as Jaiden Rickett, Nia Trinadad, and Ashanti Richardson all lead Hughes’ returning pieces from a season ago.
“Our strengths of this team will have to be defense,” Hughes said ahead of the season. “Losing our leading scorer and ball handler (Eley) is tough to replace, but the kids are working to improve on the defensive end. Our ability to play defense will determine how successful we can and will be.”
While defense is the main focus, Hughes admits the Lady Trojans are working to improve their skills on the offensive end.
“Our ability to score and get high percentage shots will need to improve as the year goes on.”
While four returning starters signify a strength in the experience category for Hughes’ Trojans, a roster rounded out by seven freshman in Skilyn Robinson, Joy Livingston, Hailey Peterman, Keirston Reed, Bre Wilson, Kymaree Carter, and Gabi Johnson means that the Trojans will go through some developmental stages along the way with their young rotational players.
“We’ve got four starters who are back from last season, all of which seem to have a better understanding of what we are trying to accomplish,” Hughes said. “We tried building this program from the ground up a year ago with our grade school program. We had sixty kids in our youth program last year and luckily we brought back the same number this year.”
In the 2019-20 season, Portsmouth will go through their OVC schedule while also going against West Union, East, New Boston, Whiteoak, St. Patrick (Ky.), Zane Trace, and a holiday tournament in Ripley to round out their non-league schedule.
“The OVC is one of the best Division III conferences in the state,” Hughes said. “We probably have four teams capable of making deep tournament runs and winning our conference. It’s going to be much stronger this year because mostly every team returns most of their players from a year ago.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved