BECKLEY — Kenny Osborne is trying to look on the bright side.

“We’ve played pretty well at times,” the veteran coach said of his Concord University women’s basketball team, currently 2-6 on the season. “I’m not disappointed with our effort.”

He knew the season would be difficult. The Mountain Lions graduated two 1,000-point scorers in Sam Nester and Bekka Flanagan, and the school’s all-time assist leader in Jamie Cluesman.

But Osborne never dreamed injuries would take such a toll on the team.

Junior point guard Sarah Blevins, who had been groomed to replace Cluesman, suffered a stress fracture in her knee after playing three games. The former Summers County standout is lost for the season.

Senior forward-guard Lyndsey Repass, who missed much of last year because of blood clots in her lungs, played just two games before severely spraining an ankle.

Repass, a former Princeton all-stater and one of the team’s most experienced players, has resumed practice, but probably won’t play for another two weeks.

Starting two-guard Bre Kyle, a sophomore from Winfield, has missed games because of neck spasms.

Another former Summers all-stater, junior center Joanna Mills, had some health problems early and has played in just one game.

James Monroe’s Megan Tuggle, who missed much of last season because of illness, is currently seeing action as a backup point guard.

“You know you’re going to have sprained and hurt knees, but health problems at 20-21 years is hard to grasp,” Osborne said. “At least we’ve got some young kids getting game experience.”

And the Mountain Lions, while losing, have only been blown out once, to a ranked Indiana (Pa.) University squad.

They lost by one point (61-60) at Glenville, shot the eye out of the basket at Central State but lost on 38 turnovers, and were tied at Charleston only to be outscored 15-6 down the stretch.

Concord is first in the West Virginia Conference in both field goal percentage (46.8) and 3-point field goal percentage (42.3), yet only averages 55 shots a game.

“If we could get five or six more shots and shoot the same percentage, we would have won several of the close games,” Osborne said.

Posts Sierra Brown and Amber Showalter, along with forward Cassidy Smith, have been standouts.

Brown, a junior and another former Summers County all-stater, is scoring at an 12.4 points per game clip while former Wyoming East star Smith averages 11.8. Showalter, a four-year starter, checks in at 11.3 along with 8.9 rebounds.

“You can beat people with quickness and athletic ability and that’s what Sierra does,” Osborne said. “Cassidy has been a steady force and is guarding the other team’s best perimeter player.

“Amber can rebound and score. She’s our leader and she’s playing the best ball of her career.”

Concord returns to action this weekend with games against Urbana and Lake Erie at the Fairmont Classic.

Trending Video

Recommended for you