Two years ago, the Edinburgh girls basketball team won its first sectional title, then followed up last season with a losing record.
Disappointment aside, coach Bob White is confident that the Class A Lancers can bounce back from last year’s disappointing 8-14 record.
But to do so, he knows they will have to overcome youth and inexperience.
“It’s going to be a young team overall,” said White, who’s in his fifth overall season at Edinburgh. “Other than our three seniors, everybody is young.
“We’ve got a good core group of freshmen and a couple of sophomores and juniors.”
But what limited veteran experience the Lancers do enjoy should go a long way, White said.
Starting seniors Jennifer Stinson, Autumne Burton and Maile Cox are the top returners.
Leading the way is Stinson, who will be a four-year starter. She was the Lancers’ top scorer and rebounder each of the past three seasons. Last year, the 5-foot-10 forward led Edinburgh with per-game averages of 13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 blocks.
“Jennifer is the go-to girl,” White said. “She’s our leader, and she’s an excellent all-around athlete. She could go to any school and contribute in one way or the other.
“She’s just a good, sound, hard-working athlete.”
Stinson, who also has earned varsity letters in volleyball and softball, looks forward to her final opportunity to help the Lancers become postseason contenders.
“This is my last chance to make an impression,” Stinson said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great teammates, and we’ve been successful in all sports. So I’d like to be able to leave a mark as a senior.”
Burton, Edinburgh’s 5-foot-2 point guard, is a three-year starter who averaged 2.6 points and 1.2 assists per game last season.
But White said Burton’s value can’t be measured by her statistics by statistics alone.
“She is a scrappy little player and does anything I ask of her,” he said.
Burton said the best contribution she could make this year is to help lay a solid foundation for the Lancers’ underclassmen.
“Hopefully we can teach the freshman how we worked when we were freshmen and help keep them on their game,” she said. “It would feel great to leave your senior year and have that behind you.”
Edinburgh also expects a lift from Cox, a fourth-year guard who left the team for personal reasons last season after starting the first four games, White said.
“Maile can play,” he said. “She gets down on herself sometimes, but she’s a nice guard and has good speed. She’s great running the floor.
“She will definitely help us.”
Sophomore forward Courtney Woodall and 5-foot-11 freshmen center Kayli Littiken round out the Lancers’ top five.
But Mariah Weddle, a 6-foot freshman center, and returning junior guard Cierra Harmon also should compete for starting jobs, White said.
Returning guards Brianna Schooler, a junior, and Marah Piercefield, a sophomore, will come in off the bench.
White said the Lancers already enjoy strong team chemistry, but because their roster contains mostly young guards it might be difficult for the Lancers to slow opposing offenses.
“The biggest challenge, I think, will be defense, based on strength and experience,” White said. “I’ve got several smart guards, but they’re just all small.”
Edinburgh opens its season Nov. 5 against visiting Class 4A Seymour. The Lancers’ second game is Nov. 9 at Class 3A Beech Grove, followed by the Nov. 13 Johnson County Tournament.
White said he hopes early matchups against larger schools will prepare the Lancers for a run at the Mid-Hoosier Conference championship and for postseason play.
“My goal is .500 and to be ready to play at sectionals,” White said. “We’ve got a tough schedule that will help get them ready for that.”