Numbers, spirits rise for Lady Flashes

Published 11:41 am Thursday, June 16, 2011

There were times last season when, because of injuries and fouls, the St. Aloysius Lady Flashes finished a game with exactly five eligible players.

That doesn’t figure to be a problem next season.

A full roster of 15 players has been working out this summer. Their enthusiasm and athleticism has coach Richard Hodges excited about the potential for the 2011-12 campaign.

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“What we have now is a group of enthusiastic and excited girls,” Hodges said. “In just a short time, they’ve come a long way. We’ve tried to slowly build this program up and now we have a full team that is enthusiastic about playing basketball. Not only that, but a lot of these girls enjoyed success on a state level in another sport whether it be tennis, swimming or track. They know what it takes to compete.”

A big group of eighth- and ninth-graders join five returning players. Rising senior Ann Garrison Thomas said the help was welcomed.

“We have all these freshmen come up and we’re now a lot better off this summer than last,” Thomas said.

Thomas was a mainstay inside for the Lady Flashes, who went 6-16 overall but finished fourth in the Division 7-1A standings. They lost to Cathedral in the first round of the division tournament.

The St. Al girls have been working out early in the morning during the week and were able to mix in a team camp last week at Mississippi College. There, they took on a good range of teams including Provine, Columbia High, Noxubee County, Madison Ridgeland Academy, Pillow Academy and Jackson Academy.

“We did real well and learned a lot,” Hodges said. “We won half our games. It was a good camp and a good mix of teams.”

Hodges was happy to see several of his returnees step up. Freshman guard Allie Willis shined, as did forwards Ellie Welp and Alexa Engel.

“Allie did well against the big dog teams,” Hodges said. “Ellie Welp improved every day of the camp and continues to do so when she comes to the gym and Alexa has gotten better, too.”