Setting a school record for wins was a massive run for Mrs. Bronco last year, but Boyd has unfinished business this winter. Coach Tim Page wants to make sure his team leaves the field winning in their last game of the season.
Boyd will have to fill in some big shoes before the opening next Thursday, but Page thinks there’s still plenty of firepower left on his roster to compete for championships. And make no mistake, Boyd’s goals start this year and end with hanging a banner by the end of the year.
“We want to build on what we were able to achieve last year,” Page said of this year’s outlook. “I think we’re deeper this year than we’ve ever been and that will put us in a good position for this season.”
Gone are last year’s seniors Leah Wright and Anna Jones, both of whom were big contributors when Boyd went 36-4. Wright now plays at Ron State and Jones won’t be around to defeat the triple that made her a 1,000-point lead for Lady Bronco, but there’s still a strong core in place.
Junior head guard Lanny Copeland was a revelation in her first year with the program last season, scoring 17.1 points per game and submitting 20 or more in 15 competitions. Page noted that Copeland, already a great outdoor shooter, made more than 40 percent of her three-pointers this summer and could prepare for an even bigger offensive season in the second year.
It could also be filled by Audrey Durham, although the more experienced player on the team enjoys being a jack of all trades. Durham was among the team leaders in rebounds, bumps, steals and assists last year and the team’s diamond pressure switches with her athletic style at the back end. With a strong offensive year, Durham could also join the school’s growing list of 1,000 scorers.
Junior goalkeeper Krista Cheesam, a dynamic defender with expanding range, is also back after picking up key minutes during last year’s record-setting season. Chisam is another primary focus of the team’s offensive defence, capable of guarding the wing or post and always showing a willingness to go inside to grab big bounces.
Emma Miller, who entered the squad mid last year after recovering from an ACL injury, adds more experience to the roster. Miller appeared in 29 games last season and demonstrated his ability to come off and extend the floor during pre-season training.
“We spent another year together and the girls became more aware of each other’s strengths,” Page said. “We use those more to achieve our goals. This team might be our fastest and that will make it exciting to watch.”
Boyd’s roster was rearranged in the off-season, as coach Paige learned to deal with him while at private school. Some contributors from last year chose to move to other schools, but it paved the way for newcomers to get instant playtime.
Paige Sweeton, a former WCMS and WCHS lady, is likely to see big minutes on guard this year for Ms. Bronco. She’ll team up with her sister, Regin Grissom, a thriving hard-jacket job. And a huge new class is already making a name for itself for Boyd.
Cydney Jane Perry is a longtime Lady Bronco who has been in college for the past two years, but is now going to be a full-time high school player — and a full-time bonus to rival ball handlers — as a freshman. Shelby Miller and Kealey Simpson were added after leading the Centertown Lady Warriors to the Warren County Trials last year, while Zoe Oliver and Anslee McCrary are youngsters with tools to contribute early on.
Coach Page believes his team’s expanded roster, which will allow him to schedule JV matches this year, is a good sign of the program’s future health.
“It’s great to have so many girls – in a small school – like a family. Being able to work 5 to 5 will prove valuable and being able to play JV games will help develop our young players and prepare them for the next few years,” Page said.
Boyd won’t have the element of surprise this season after winning 36 games, including seven against TSSAA opponents, but coach Paige isn’t worried about his team’s mentality this season. His focus continues to build the collection into one cohesive unit capable of bringing the TSIAA and NACA crowns home in February. Boyd played for the championship in both tournaments last year, but lost both games, including losing in the NACA Finals in overtime.
That loss was a driving force behind all the offseason for Mrs. Bronco.
“We want to make sure we play as one unit with the same goals this year,” Page said. “We also know we will need some contributions from some of the new students this year.”
Lady Broncos’ schedule this year includes encounters with TSSAA opponents Grundy County, LaVergne, Smyrna, Watertown, St. Andrew’s Sewanee plus a full TSIAA listing. Boyd will also play in holiday tournaments in Pigeon Forge (Thanksgiving) and Dyersburg (Christmas).
Boyd starts his season next Thursday on the road against Franklin Road Christian, but will have to wait until December 6 to make his home debut. Notice set for next week at 6pm