When all the integral pieces return from a 20-2 district finalist, it is hard to enter a season without lofty expectations. This is the case for head coach Cyndy Driggs and her Unioto Lady Sherman Tanks.
When all the integral pieces return from a 20-2 district finalist, it is hard to enter a season without lofty expectations. This is the case for head coach Cyndy Driggs and her Unioto Lady Sherman Tanks. After a season of domination came to an end a year ago with a tough loss to Circleville in the district championship, Unioto returns this year with a new confident attitude – an attitude that wants to take that next step.
“The attitude of last year’s team was great, and we had a good season,” said Driggs. “I am really pleased with the time and effort this team has put in during the off-season, and I feel their attitude is a more confident one entering this season. This team is anxious to prove they can play with some of the top programs.”
The strength of the Shermans starts in the backcourt. Shiann Ray (5-8, Sr.), who just signed to play her college ball at Ashland University, joins Chloe Cottrell (5-8, Jr.) and Janae Driggs (5-5, So.) on the perimeter. They all have interchangeable talents at both the point and off guard positions. Their ability to beat opponents off the bounce, as well as their ability to create shots for themselves and for others, makes Unioto nearly impossible to be defended man-to-man. Sophomore center Mackenzie Arledge (6-0, So.) gives the Shermans a nice inside-out balance.
Another strength of Unioto is its depth. Liza Elliott (5-10, Jr.), who had a solid freshman campaign before missing most of last season with an injury, returns as a junior to give Unioto some depth in the post. Heather Sanders (5-11, Jr.) also provides athleticism on the frontline.
Taylor Corcoran brings several intangibles to the court. The senior is an outstanding athlete that can defend multiple positions. The senior brings great energy to the defensive end and is a great leader for this young yet talented group. Taylor Karshner (5-7, Sr.) and Erin Bane (5-7, Fr.) will also play a solid role for the Tanks.
“Our depth should allow us some versatility in how we play,” said Driggs who led Unioto to the state tournament in 1987, 1989, and 1995. “Our guards are interchangeable and we have some good athletes that can play multiple positions.”
These pieces have come together so far as the purple and gold are off to a 2-0 start. This start includes a big win on the road over Adena during the opening week of the season. In the win, Arledge scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Ray added 15 points showing the nice inside-out punch that Unioto possess.
If the Lady Shermans have a weakness it is probably their ability to consistently shoot it from the perimeter. The talented backcourt is more comfortable beating people off the dribble and getting it to the glass than they are just catching and shooting. Add this to Arledge in the post and it is a safe bet that Unioto will be facing zone defense for most of the season. Unioto will most likely combat this with pressure defense and quick transition offense to keep the game played in the full court rather than half court as much as possible.
“We would like to play up-tempo when possible, but we know we will have to execute in the half court as well,” said Driggs. “We want to be versatile enough to play whatever defense we feel is needed to be successful each night.”
Unioto will be heavy favorites to repeat as Scioto Valley Conference champions before entering a tough southeast Division-II tournament. In preparation for the postseason, the purple and gold will test themselves several times out of conference with a non-league schedule that includes six other D-II schools.