Even though the same narrative could be said about a wealth of area athletes both near and far, this will be the final season for Montgomery County senior Kayla Schmidt to carry the varsity girls basketball team as far into the playoffs as possible.

Because this team won just 11 of the 27 games it played last year and went 3-7 in Eastern Missouri Conference action, that goal may appear to be more like a dream than a reality. The difference between fact and fiction in this case doesn't stray very far, though, and instead revolves around returning junior guards Anna Henke and Hannah Prior and forward Paige Oden.

"We hope to control the tempo every night. We are really going to try to push the pace this year," said coach Joe Basinger. "I feel like we have a good core group of players returning that saw a lot of valuable minutes a year ago."

The rest of the returning cast for Basinger includes sophomores Haeley Johnson, a guard, and forward Hailey Hill. One issue that hasn't been mentioned as of yet is that the Lady Wildcats lost forwards Macy Block, Lydia Bishop and guard Jasmine Hensley to graduation. Fortunately, Montgomery County's roster additions of junior forward Grechen Ecton, sophomore guard Katie Broniec and junior forward/guard Makenna Meyer should fit nicely into the positions left behind by that trio.

"We really need to improve in our offensive output this year. We had nights where we could score consistently and nights where we did not," Basinger said. "Hopefully our work over the summer on our individual development will help as well. I'm looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead of this group."