I was able to attend a practice about a week ago at Spencer County thanks to the benevolence of Head Coach John Howie to see how the Lady Bears are progressing in the off-season. He informed me of some poll that had picked his team third in the 8th Region and had some doubts about that and I can’t blame him. The Lady Bears have graduated five players and lost a 6th that just wanted to move on with her life. Among those six players were the Top 3 scores and 4 of the Top 6.
When you look over their stats from last season they must replace 1,059 of 1,588 total points, 150 of 173 made three-pointers, 181 of 295 made free throws, and 429 of 989 total rebounds. Expressed differently, that is about 67% of total scoring, 87% of all made threes, 61% of all made free throws, and 43% of total rebounds. That is rough, but there are some bright sides.
Two of the best rebounders on the team return and those are two of the most efficient scorers on the team. This kind of attrition is all too common for scholastic sports and the Lady Bears just have to have the next players in the pipeline stand up, The cupboard is not bare. There are shooters and ballhandlers in the program ready to step into larger roles from the support roles they played in past seasons. And there are players ready to step up from the Junior Varsity to fill those supporting roles on the team.
Will there be growing pains? Of course, but by the end of the season, Spencer County could be in a position to compete with the best of the 8th Region again. The players needed to replace those states are in the pipeline. Ready to produce more than before to carry the Lady Bears to many more victories.
Let’s take a look at some of the best returning players on the roster.
– 5’9″ – SF – Spencer County – ’23
Reichenbach returns as the leading scorer remaining on last season’s roster averaging 8.3 points per game. She has been the primary interior-scoring threat and top rebounder (6.7 per game, 167 total) on the team, and that will likely continue as such. She has been an extremely efficient scorer by making 44.6% of her field goals, shooting only eight three-pointers. I believe she is the rock this team will be built around on both ends of the floor this season.
Although a bit undersized for playing in the post, she gets the job done with quickness, toughness, and determination. Her ability to make the defense pay in the paint makes it possible for the team to shoot so many uncontested outside shots. Defensively, it is her ability to play physical and get good positioning that makes her effective on defense. She also has good hand-eye reflexes for batting away passes or blocking shots in her zone. While she is a hustle player she tends to be able to play in control which helps her to stay out of foul trouble and limit mistakes. Being able to expend maximum effort without being out of control is not an easy balancing act but she walks that line very well.
During drills and scrimmage time at practice, she made numerous plays. She erased a few layups by blocking the shot and set up teammates for layups on dump-down passes and for threes on kick-out passes. She made jumpers from the elbow, the short corner, a corner three, and scored the ball off of rebound putbacks and in the post. The only part of her routine I don’t remember seeing her put on display was her ability to drive and score off of good basket cuts but I expect you will see those if you get the chance to see her play this winter
Ella Brown – PF – Spencer County – ’24
Brown was the most efficient scorer (48.8% Field Goals) and 3rd leading rebounder (4.5 per game) on last season’s team. She will also be relied on early to increase her scoring punch from last season (5 points per game) with some increased touches. But ultimately it is her rebounding that the team will rely on most as several teammates grow into larger roles on the team.
She has the ball skills and shooting skills to be an increased contributor to the offense. I saw her penetrate and dish to teammates, knock down a 14-footer in the corner, make good finishes in transition, and rebound the ball to kick it out to shooters. She is also a good passer, making a great ost to post pass for an assist and a lob from the wing to set a teammate up for a layup. She also displayed great length blocking a 4-foot jumper.
Skylar Mills – PG – Spencer County – ’24
Mills is one of the top returning players with experience after playing in every game last season. Her stats don’t stand out until you realize she was a backup Point Guard and that the KHSAA doesn’t keep track of assists. She is a Coach on the floor for a team that needs that kind of leadership now more than ever. Her communication skills on Defense will also be critical.
Her quick decision-making, the passes threaded through tight windows, and her defensive hustle will be invaluable to the team this season. She made several great passes to set up her teammates and displayed a smooth jumper at mid-range.
Alexis Gibbs – PG – Spencer County – ’26
Gibbs is a great new addition to the Varsity team. She has a great release to her outside shot and made multiple three-pointers from the win and the corner. I especially like the way she steps into her shot. I was almost shocked when she missed it.
Malorie Cox – G – Spencer County – ’25
The defensive fundamentals of Cox and her knowledge of the system and game are apparent. She is an excellent playmaker and ballhandler that plays with poise. She will be an asset especially in the press and against the press.
Bailey Weyrauch – SG – Spencer County – ’25
Weyrauch is one of the shooters that will need to step up for the Lady Bears this season. Her 21 games of experience last year will be invaluable. She was knocking it down from the right wing in practice with a nice shooting form.
Kayla Basham – F/G – Spencer County – ’25
Basham played in 19 games last season and that experience will be important. She is another catch-and-shoot shooter with a nice shot looking to take a step forward in the Lady Bears’ offense this winter.
Ava Raque – G – Spencer County – ’25
Raque made a three on an inside-out pass and was a good finisher in the paint. That is the kind of play that could get her into the rotation early this season.
– C – Spencer County – ’26
Brown is a very good shooter that can make the three or short jumpers to help stretch the defense. Her length will be invaluable to help defend the paint. Her game needs some seasoning but she stands ready to contribute in spots early on.