Smackover will unveil a new look for girls’ basketball this season. New coach David Preston takes over a team that includes five sophomores on the 10-player roster.
Preston, currently the Bucks’ football assistant coach, formerly coached Smackover’s boys’ basketball team and returned to the bench as an assistant last year. He took over the Lady Bucks’ program after Makara Frazier resigned after last season.
“I’m excited to get the opportunity to lead these girls this season,” said Preston. “I’m also excited to get to share the bench with Coach Mike Poff, one of my biggest mentors and someone I’ve leaned on my whole career. I was an assistant last year and built relationships with these players. That has helped this transition that happened fairly late in the summer.”
Poff, also the head golf coach, assumed a lot of the coaching duties while the Bucks made their playoff push in football.
“It hasn’t been ideal with me coaching football as well but we are excited to play soon and see how the season unfolds,” said Preston. “We will be young this year but the ladies have made big strides getting ready for the season.”
Carlie Crawford will be the team’s lone senior. She will be joined by juniors Jasmin Nelson, Abby Brewer, Gretchen Goodwin and Baniya Welch and sophomores Ragan Robinson, Ciana Olds, Ashlyn McNeely, Autumn Buchanan and Sophie Belt.
“Carlie Crawford will provide leadership and experience for us on the court which we will need,” said Preston. “Abby Brewer was injured most of last season but returns and will work harder than anyone. Gretchen Goodwin will also bring experience and is extremely strong on the defensive end.
“Ragan Robinson moved up last year as a freshman and we will use her size and ability to score and rebound under the basket. Jasmin Nelson has made huge improvements this off-season.
“She has been a great surprise. I’m excited to see her get on the court and put it to use. Baniya Welch is extremely fast and athletic. We hope to use her athleticism to work to our advantage. The remaining sophomores got experience last year in junior high and we will need them to provide quality minutes and fill their roles well to be successful this year.”
The Lady Bucks are scheduled to open the season Nov. 29 against Bearden.