Lady Panthers are guard-heavy

 Savannah Thomas is one of two seniors on the 2012-13 Southside High girls basketball team. Savannah Thomas is one of two seniors on the 2012-13 Southside High girls basketball team.

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

With only a couple of exceptions, Southside High is fielding an all-guard girls basketball team this season.

“We’re having to incorporate our offense to fit most guards in,” coach Kim Nails said. “We have a couple of post players, but there are times when we’re playing five guards. We’re learning to use a lot of intensity to push the ball and play pressure defense.”

One of those post players, Molly Tucker,  is bringing a lot of experience from last season.    

There are only two seniors on the roster in Sydney D’eith and Savannah Thomas.

“They’re providing a lot of senior leadership,” Nails said. “That’s something every team needs and we’re lucky to have two outstanding leaders.”

On the other end of the age spectrum is eighth-grader Haley Troup, daughter of boys coach Kevin Troup.

“She doesn’t play like an eighth-grader,” Nails said. “She has a lot of court smarts and is a natural talent.”

Another returner is Baylee Gilchrist, who Nails said brings a “ton of intensity.”

The Panthers also gained a transfer, Beth Allen Smith, who moved from Hewitt-Trussville.

Then there are five players who are moving up from the junior varsity – Morgan Harris, Abby Thornton, Jakarti McKissack and twins Autumn Hamm and Whitney Hamm.

“We are trying to find the right combinations to be successful,” Nails said. “Our three-year starting post player quit right before the season, so that has changed what we are doing and has forced some girls to learn new positions.

“The first half of the year will be kind of a learning process but my hopes are that we will gel together and really peak when it counts in the second half of the season.”

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