Crothersville girls basketball begins season tonight; Facing Bloomington Lighthouse

Curtis White will be working with a young squad as he begins his first season as head coach of the Crothersville Lady Tigers basketball team.

There are 10 players on the roster but only one senior and no juniors.

Senior Joceline Clay played the first 12 games of last season and averaged 9.1 points per game. She scored in double figures six times with high games of 17 against South Central and 16 against Edinburgh and Columbus Christian.

The sophomores are Hali Burton and Hayden Pilgrim.

Burton started throughout the season and averaged 6.6 PPG with high games of 20 against Dugger Union and 14 against Martinsville Tabernacle.

Pilgrim played in seven games before suffering a knee injury. She averaged 4.8 PPG and scored 14 against Cannelton and 12 against Columbus Christian.

White coached the Tigers in two games during the summer.

“I applied for the job, and I got it. I didn’t think I would get it, but if God wants to open this door for me, I’ll step through that door,” he said.

“Most coaches, when they come into a program, the idea is hard to get seniors to buy in what you want to do,” White added. “So if you have younger players that are decent, you’re going to take those younger players and play them, and sometimes, you’ll take your lumps, but they are going to learn through the process. Here, it is a little different. I have only one senior who I actually knew when she was at Austin. I’ll probably focus on the younger kids. If Clay earns her spot, she will be playing and doing her thing.”

White said fundamentals are important.

“I’m really going to focus on fundamental basketball with these girls and build the younger girls up and get them experience,” he said. “When you go into high school basketball, you may be a good grade school player, but what people forget is when you are in eighth grade, you are 13, 14. When you come into high school, you’re battling against 18-year-old girls who are full-grown women, so you’re going to take your lumps, but you’re also going to get stronger.

“When you’re a high school coach, you have to coach to their strength,” he said. “I’m old-fashioned. I’m rooted in defense. The only thing zone is is man-to-man principles in an area.”

White wants his players to know how to play both zone and man.

“So when we get to high school, we can go man or zone and teach it in that type of situation,” he said.

He said Crothersville gave up 55 points per game last season, and he wants to get that down.

“I don’t want an ESPN pass. I want the basic pass,” he said. “If you do the simple things correctly, everything will take care of itself. Make the smart pass. If you make the easy pass, the buckets will happen, the offense will happen.”

The freshman players are Isabella Riley, Jazlin Gibson, Joshalyn Luenebrink, Kendra Kelshaw, Kelsie Walker, Brooklyn Bottorff and Laura Redifer.

“If you give me 10 girls that are fundamentally sound, I think we can play with any team in the state,” White said. “Fundamentals are what holds true in basketball. You need to be able to see the floor and make layups and make free throws.”

White began his coaching career in North Carolina. He coached at Austin for 23 years and coached boys and girls basketball and volleyball at different levels.

Crothersville will open its season at 6 p.m. today at Bloomington Lighthouse. The Tigers will play at Clarksville on Tuesday night and will open their home schedule Nov. 11 against Southwestern (Hanover) at 1 p.m.