Prep basketball preview: West girls have uphill climb

West Davidson’s girls’ team is built on the premise of heart, grit, and determination.

In the ultra-competitive Central Carolina Conference, that wasn’t enough to spell victory very often last season.

Coach David Klinkoski hopes, with the bulk of his roster returning, the Dragons can inch their way up the league standings this season.

West will rely heavily on the scoring of guard Callie Herman, who was the Dragons’ leading scorer last season as a freshman. “She’s always a threat,” Klinkoski said. “She can shoot, she can drive, she can pass.

“She’s just an all-around great player.”

Senior Alicia Middleton returns at the point guard spot, and her leadership will be key in keeping the team focused. “ Klinkoski hopes to get a spark from senior guard Katie Shoaf, who missed all of last season with an injury. “I’m very happy she’s able to come back and play this year. She’s one of the most unselfish players I’ve ever had,” he said.

Senior Carey Norman will move from the post to the wing this season.

But the Dragons won’t be bare underneath by any means; seniors Maggie Hughes and Emily Hutchinson are willing to do all the dirty work in the paint, along with juniors Alexis Beverly and Valerie Martin.

West is also excited about freshman post player Lydiya Rivas. In all, the Dragons have six players at least 5-foot-8 in the post, meaning they can rotate plenty of bodies underneath. “So far, we’ve played two scrimmages and I have seen her dominate on the boards,” Klinkoski beamed.

Senior Kayda Beane and junior Janeice Leonard should see time at the guard position off the bench.

After struggling some with matchups in the half-court game in the past, the Dragons will try a new approach this season in hopes of being more competitive with the teams in the conference’s upper echelon. “We’re gonna look to push the ball up and down the floor a little more,” Klinkoski said. “See if we can get some easier scoring opportunities for us.

“And we’re not the biggest team in the world, so we’re gonna have to box out and do all the little things right. It’ll start and end there.

Our post players have really stepped it up so far in practice.”

The Dragons open at home against Wheatmore on Tuesday.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or