Lady Knights ready for varsity
by Greg Oshust
goshust@cherokeetribune.com
November 20, 2010 12:00 AM | 1864 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Even through they’re in the first full-fledged varsity season, Jessica Mlaska and her River Ridge teammates could have the talent to compete this year.
<br>Tribune photo by Anthony Stalcup
Even through they’re in the first full-fledged varsity season, Jessica Mlaska and her River Ridge teammates could have the talent to compete this year.
Tribune photo by Anthony Stalcup
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River Ridge's girls basketball program got off to strong start last year as it enjoyed a successful inaugural season playing a mostly junior varsity schedule.

But the stakes will get higher in Year 2 as the Lady Knights play a complete varsity schedule for the first time, playing out of a subregion in Region 7AA.

River Ridge coach Jason Taylor said he and his team are looking for ward to the challenges of playing varsity basketball.

"The kids are really excited, everybody's excited at River Ridge," said Taylor, a former coach at Woodstock. "We're playing in Region 7AA with teams like Model, Armuchee, Pepperell and Adairsville, so we know it's going to be very competitive. Hopefully, we'll be one of the four teams coming out of the region to play in the state tournament."

It was a successful debut for River Ridge in 2009-10 as the Lady Knights went 17-7, including 2-2 against varsity squads.

"It was a real successful season," Taylor said. "We had six freshmen and four eighth-graders who played in the JV games, but we were very competitive and achieved some success."

River Ridge showed it was ready to build on last year's success as it easily defeated Walker 66-15 in a preseason scrimmage on Tuesday. The Lady Knights were boosted by a hot shooting touch, hitting 10 3-pointers.

"We just shot the ball very well," Taylor said. "The thing is, we hadn't been shooting that well in practice, so it was a very pleasant surprise."

River Ridge should also be a better rebounding team as the Lady Knights added some more size to their frontcourt this season.

"This year, we have a couple of transfers coming in, and they will give us more size," Taylor said. "We lacked size last year, and we got outrebounded bad."

Youth and inexperience certainly will be a factor for a River Ridge team that features five sophomores and four freshmen. But with most of the Lady Knights' players playing basketball year-round, Taylor feels that inexperience won't be that much of a factor.

"Sure, we're young and inexperienced when it comes to playing varsity basketball, but a lot of our girls play year-round basketball against elite competition," Taylor said.

Leading the way for River Ridge will be 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Jordan Livesay, who led the team in scoring last year with 25 points a game and scored 17 points in the scrimmage with Walker.

"She can score, pass, play defense - she can do it all," Taylor said.

River Ridge will also be boosted in the frontcourt with the addition of 5-11 sophomore center Parker Nayman, a transfer from Creekview, and 6-2 freshman center Jessica Mlaska.

Jessica Baker, a 5-5 freshman forward and the younger sister of former Cherokee and Creekview multi-sport standout Jerrah Baker, led River Ridge with 20 points against Walker and will be another scoring threat. Lucy Stone, a 5-5 freshman guard, will also play a key role.
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