WEST LAFAYETTE -- With plenty of experienced talent returning for the upcoming season, hopes are high for the Ridgewood High Lady Generals to have a successful season on the hardwood.
Last season, the Orange and Black finished with an overall record of 15-9 and complied an 11-5 mark in the Inter-Valley Conference to place third in the league.
The lone loss to graduation for Ridgewood was Laura Frazee, who was a three-year letterwinner for the Lady Generals and is now playing at Marietta College. Frazee averaged 13 points per game a year ago.
"We will miss Laura around here for sure," Ridgewood head coach Doug Patterson said. "Not only on the court, but she is such a fun-loving player and all the girls looked up to her."
Entering his 12th season guiding the Lady Generals' basketball program, Patterson will welcome back four lettermen to the fold this campaign led by senior three-year veteran Amanda Lowery (6-0, P-W).
Lowery was last season's leading scorer at 15 ppg and she also led the Lady Generals in rebounding at around eight rebounds per contest.
"Amanda is the hardest working player I've ever coached," Patterson said. "She puts in the time to work on her game and is just a great kid. Amanda is an inside-outside threat and handles the ball very well.....just a talented player."
Also returning for the Lady Generals are a pair of three-year letterwinners in senior Baylee Haynes (5-6, G) and junior Morgan McDorman (5-4, G). Haynes checked in at 4.0 ppg along with three assists per night while McDorman finished with a 6.0 ppg average last season.
"Baylee has turned in a great leader for us," said Patterson. "She really works well with the younger players and she has also really picked up her own game and improved her skill level. Look for her to be a real good player for us this year.
"Morgan will step into the starting off-guard spot for us this year," the RHS coach continued. "She looks ready for that role and is working very hard."
Junior two-year letterman Kaitlyn Finton (6-1, P) will patrol the 'paint' for the Lady Generals, coming off a 6.0 ppg average with 4.0 boards per night last year.
"Kaitlyn worked really hard over the summer," said the Lady Generals' coach. "She put in some time working on her game and she looks ready to have a real break-out year for us."
Rounding out the Lady Generals' starting line-up this year will be sophomore transfer Audrey Tingle (5-6, G), who transferred in from Cambridge High.
Tingle lettered last season as a freshman for the Lady Bobcats, posting numbers of 9.0 ppg along with three steals and three assists per outing.
"Audrey is very hard worker with a lot of speed," Patterson said. "She's a real heads-up ballplayer and is already a great leader on the floor for such a young player. She has a chance to be a very special player for us in the future."
Completing the RHS varsity roster are junior Sam Wilson (5-10, P), along with sophomores Eliza Haynes (5-8, P-W) and Autumn Brown (5-8, W).
Patterson feels good that his team will be very versatile and could feature a different leading scorer each night.
"We have a lot of different options on this team," Patterson explained. "Any one of our starters has the potential to lead us in scoring on any given night. That will pose problems for teams to defend us."
"We have some good athletes and will play the length of the court with a very up-tempo style," Patterson said. "I'm really excited about the season and looking forward to some big things this year."
In looking at the race in the Inter-Valley Conference, Patterson feels confident his Lady Generals will be right in the mix for the IVC title.
"I think it will be a tight race with Hiland, Garaway, Malvern and us all right there," Patterson said. "It looks like it will be a good battle and we will be right there. I'm confident in saying that."
The RHS non-league schedule includes games with Dover, Tri-Valley, New Lexington, Indian Valley, River View and Tusky Valley.
"I like our non-league schedule," Patterson said. "We play a lot of bigger schools to give us better competition and that's something we have tried to do the last few years."
Ridgewood's junior varsity team includes freshmen Karlee Everhardt (5-5, G), Erin Buchanan (5-9, W-P), Halie Keffer (5-6, W-P), Celeste Vanfossen (5-4, W-P), Erica Schwartz (5-6, W-P), Rylee Young (5-4, W-P), Isabelle Flores (5-4, W-P), Mattie Harrison (5-3, W-P) and Bree Lavigne (5-5, W).
Patterson's coaching staff includes Darrell Ball as junior varsity coach and varsity assistant Kirby Shivers. At the junior high level, Maria Prater will coach the eighth grade team and April Scott will lead the seventh grade squad.
"I'm very excited to get this season underway," Patterson said. "I really enjoy working with this group of girls. They are good, hard-working kids and have great attitudes.
"You can't ask for much more as a coach," he added. "I'm ooking forward to getting this season under way."