The 54th District will have a bit of a new look this season as legendary Perry Central head coach Randy Napier is no longer on the Lady Commodores’ sideline.
Hazard is the defending district champs.
Buckhorn finished as runner-up and Leslie County. Leslie County and Perry Central will try and take the title away from Hazard this season as well.
Here is a look at this season’s 54th District:
Hazard — The Lady Bulldogs only lost one senior to graduation from last season’s squad.
Hazard returns a lot of talent and experience.
The Lady Bulldogs have four seniors and five juniors on this season’s roster.
Hazard finished with a 17-14 record last season. The Lady Bulldogs won the 54th District championship before being knocked out of the 14th Region Tournament in the first round by Knott Central.
Leading scorers Hayley Caudill and Desiree Sturgill return. Caudill scored a team-high 16.4 points per game last season, while shooting 44.3 percent from the field. Caudill also shot a team best 79.6 percent from the free-throw line. She finished second on the team in rebounding by pulling down 4.1 rebounds per game. Sturgill averaged 15 points per game. Sturgill shot 77.4 percent from the free-throw line and pulled down 3.6 rebounds per contest.
Andrianna Harris also returns as the team’s top rebounder. Harris averaged 7.1 points per game, while pulling down a team best nine rebounds per game.
Libby Danner averaged 7.6 points per game last season.
Hazard will kickoff the season Saturday December 7 at 3:00 p.m. against Danville in the Ted Cook Classic at South Laurel.
The Lady Bulldogs will follow by competing in the WYMT Mountain Class at Perry Central. Hazard follows with early tests against Knott Central, district rival Buckhorn and 15th Region’s Floyd Central and Pike Central.
Buckhorn — The Lady Wildcats are young this season.
Buckhorn’s roster is filled with freshman and sophomores.
The Lady Wildcat roster consists of seven freshmen and four sophomores.
No upperclassmen on the team.
The positive thing for Buckhorn is it is basically the same roster that finished as runner-up in the 54th District last season.
The Lady Wildcats did lose leading scorer Ally Lopez from last season and seniors Abby Griffith, Kristen Hurley and Liberty Neace besides Lopez.
Those seniors scored 26.3 points per game for the Lady Wildcats.
Sheridan Combs and Brooklyn Riley are the top returning scorers. Combs averaged 4.4 points per game and Riley averaged 3.9 points per game.
The question for Buckhorn is were is the scorning going to come from?
Besides Combs and Riley, Lexie Mullins averaged 3.9 points per game and Kaitlyn Bowling averaged 2.9 points per game.
All of the returners who saw action will have to increase their production if the Lady Wildcats want to have another good season.
Riley will also be Buckhorn’s top returning rebounder. She averaged 3.6 rebounds per game. Bowling followed with 3.1 rebounds per game and Sheridan averaged three rebounds per contest.
Buckhorn finished with a 10-22 record last season.
The Lady Wildcats will open the season next Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Christian. Buckhorn follows with back-to-back road games with Jackson City and Leslie County. The Lady Wildcats home opener will come against Powell County. Buckhorn follows with games against Wolfe County, Robertson County and Hazard.
Perry Central — Longtime coach Randy Napier retired.
Step in new coach Misty McAlarnis to lead the Lady Commodores.
Perry Central finished last season with 10-14 record.
The Lady Commodores lost five players to graduation.
The seniors only combined 11 points per game, so the Lady Commodores have a lot of fire power coming back.
Leading scorer Courtney Hoskins returns. Hoskins averaged 18 points per game last season.
The good thing about Hoskins is that she will be a freshman this season.
Chelsea Proffitt will also be a freshman this season. Proffitt should be a scorer for the Lady Commodores this season.
Second leading scorer from last season Chelsey Napier also comes back. Napier scored seven points per game.
Talyer Brewer averaged 5.3 points per game and a team-high 5.3 rebounds per game. Rani McIntrye averaged 5.2 rebounds per game last season and Napier averaged 4.5 rebounds.
Perry Central is a young team.
They have a lot of talent, but can the youth and talent produce wins? That’s the question this season.
Perry Central will open the season on the road Monday at Breathitt County at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Commodores follow with a road game against Belfry before their home opener against North Laurel. Perry Central follows with games against Knott Central, Knox Central and 15th Region defending champion Pikeville.
Leslie County — The Lady Eagles looked to be one of the favorites to win the 54th District last season, but nothing is certain in postseason play.
Leslie County lost five seniors from last season’s team. The seniors accounted for 20.3 points per game and 23.6 rebounds per game.
The Lady Eagles returning players in the 14th Region. Senior Lexy Meyers is back to lead the Lady Eagles. Meyers had a big junior season. She averaged 23.6 points per game and is also their leading returning rebounder as she averaged 6.1 rebounds per game.
The rebounding may be the biggest thing to replace for Leslie County.
Who is going to step up and help Meyers scoring and rebounding?
Emily Bowling is the second leading returning scorer at four points per game.
Hailee Mullins is the second leading returning rebounder with three rebounds per contest.
Leslie County finished with a 17-13 record last season.
The Lady Eagles will open the season on the road at Red bird Monday at 6:00 p.m. Leslie County follows with games at Betsy Layne, then return home for matchups against Buckhorn and Breathitt County. The Lady Eagles then take on Jenkins and Letcher Central.