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Numbers, expectations high for Beallsville girls

Photo Provided PICTURED IS the 2020-21 Beallsville Blue Devils girls basketball team. Front row, from left, are Hannah Phillips and Najea Holt. Middle row, from left, are Kinley Hughes, Chloe McCulley, Hallie Bommer, Sydnee Otto, Jaycee Huffman and Grace Perkins. Back row, from left, are Taylar McCulley, Harley Valley, Makenna Phillips, Cheyenne Riley and Kiliegh Darby.

BEALLSVILLE – While Beallsville may be a small school, having big talent on the hardwood is something that coach Tori Lang is very familiar with.

The former Blue Devils standout saw her team find great success last season, even as they dealt with small numbers. The Lady Devils finished their season with a 21-4 record before bowing out to Fort Frye in the district tournament and snared a second consecutive OVAC Class 1A title last season beating Cameron in the finals 40-29, despite only dressing seven players.

Gone from last season’s team are Ashlie Loudon, who in addition to being the MVP of the OVAC title game was also a Second-Team All-Ohioan, and Ashley Howell, who was an All-Ohio Honorable Mention. Both players also snagged first-team honors for All-District 12 and All-OVAC.

That said, the cupboard is far from bare, as the Lady Blue Devils have doubled their roster, which includes five seniors.

Lang, who enters her sixth season at the helm of her alma mater, makes no qualms in the expectations held this season.

“We have some talented, young kids. I don’t see why we can’t get a high seed in the sectional and we have very high expectations as well as contend for the OVAC title again,” Lang said.

Lang’s starters are set, however, they are currently slightly adjusted. Harley Nalley is nursing an ankle injury.

“Nalley is out 2-4 weeks. She is a four-year letterman, and it is safe to bet that she will be back in the lineup when she’s back,” Lang said.

The offense will go through 5-7 freshman point guard Kinley Hughes.

“We have liked what we have seen out of Kinley so far,” noted Lang.

Hannah Phillips, a 5-2 junior, will also handle the ball as the other guard. Senior Makenna Phillips, who is 5-11, was described as a good shooter who will play inside.

Classmate Cheyenne Riley (5-7) and 5-7 sophomore Hallie Bommer 5-7 round out the starting lineup.

Junior guard Jaycee Huffman (5-6) and sophomore Sydnee Otto (5-6), who is also a guard, figure to come off of the bench regularly.

The rest of the roster consists of seniors Taylar McCulley and Kiliegh Darby, junior Najea Holt, and a trio of freshmen, including Chloe McCulley, Grace Perkins and Leah Trigg.

When asked about coaching in the COVID environment of this season, Lang realizes there could be challenges.

“We haven’t really had people missing practice and have only had one scrimmage canceled, but we had our first game against Shenandoah moved to December,” Lang said. “I know many teams have had to deal with players being quarantined, but we have been lucky so far. Scheduling has been the biggest issue. I know our athletic director (Delmas Moore) is about ready to pull his hair out.”

Concerning her team’s attitude and the improved numbers this season, Lang said, “I have liked that our team has been positive. They have been positive and want to learn. This is one of the first years I’ve had enough girls to compete with each other for spots. I can have girls competing for spots and pushing each other and working at practice to make each other better every single day. We lost a huge chunk of our scoring from last year, so other people will have to step up and fill those spots. We lost about 90% of our scoring from last year.”

Lang is assisted by Alyssa Tolzda and Mason Lang.

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