Raiderettes ready for season

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Roane State Community College women’s basketball coach Monica Boles knows her team is young, but she is not worried about inexperience.

“We have more talent and skill, and we have kids who love the game,” Boles said. “They play hard. They are determined and driven. I don’t see any selfishness.”

The Raiderettes feature 12 first-year players, and two of the team’s sophomores are transfers. However, Boles sees some advantages in having an entirely new team.

“Everyone is on the same page,” Boles said. “Everything is completely new to all of them. They all have been taught the same things the same way.”

Roane State finished 17-9 last season. The Raiderettes opened the year at Georgia Perimeter on Tuesday. The team’s first home game is this Saturday against Spartanburg Methodist at 4 p.m. 

Fans can get free admission to the Tuesday, Nov. 9 game against Wallace State (5:30 p.m.) by bringing a non-perishable food item for Hands of Mercy food pantry.

Heading into the season, Boles believes her squad will be able to put up points, but getting a young team focused on defense could take a while.

“We can put the ball in the basket,” Boles said. “Defensively, we have some work to do, but the fact that we play so hard is going to help us.”

Boles, who is assisted by Laura Hall and Tinisha Key, provided her outlook for each of the Raiderettes. 

Jasamine Chism, No. 23, 5-3, sophomore, guard, Jackson: Chism transferred from Jackson State and is a quick, tenacious on-the-ball defender who is working to improve her offensive skills.

Tasha Delaney, No. 32, 5-10, freshman, guard/post, Sparta: Delaney has a nice shooting touch, is physical in the paint and makes good decisions with the basketball.

Jassmine Franklin, No. 24, 6-0, freshman, post, Lebanon, Ky.: Franklin ran track in high school and is lean, fast and aggressive. A raw talent, Franklin is working on her scoring.

Kayla Gibson, No. 3, 5-6, freshman, guard, Byrdstown: Gibson is a smart player who does “all the little things,” Boles said. A solid defender, Gibson is also a capable 3-point shooter.

Takyah Gilmore, No. 20, 5-6, freshman, guard, Alcoa: Gilmore, a left-hander, is a tremendous athlete and an excellent rebounder from the guard position. She has been slowed by a shoulder injury, but is practicing with the team. 

Natalie Gresham, No. 5, 5-5, freshman, guard, Knoxville: Gresham will play point guard and is a good ball-handler who sees the floor well and can knock down shots.

Jill Herman, No. 12, 6-0, freshman, guard, Powell: Herman is an all-around basketball player with excellent offensive and defensive skills. She had a double-double in each preseason scrimmage, including a 32-point, 11-rebound performance. “She is completely unselfish,” Boles said.

Jacquelyn Hickson, No. 10, 5-5, freshman, guard, Clinton: Hickson is a “pure shooter” with great range, Boles said. She is also a smart defender, unselfish and has a “high maturity level.”

Kayla Kimes, No. 14, 5-5, freshman, guard, Celina: Kimes is an extremely quick defender and an excellent ball-handler who makes good decisions. Boles described her as “gutsy.” While scoring is not her primary job, Kimes is capable of knocking down shots to keep the defense honest.

Jaisa Moritz, No. 11, 5-6, freshman, guard, Sevierville: Moritz is a good outside shooter who is working to improve her ability to generate offense off the dribble. “She’s really blossoming,” Boles said. “She plays extremely hard and loves the game.”

Korin Pease, No. 33, 5-8, sophomore, post, Oakdale: Pease plays inside but can step out and knock down shots. Boles said she “knows where to be, what to do, and loves the game.”

Tasha Phillips, No. 30, 6-0, sophomore, post, Clarkrange: Phillips transferred from Carson-Newman College and is a smart player with great post moves around the basket. “We’re going to lean on her heavily for leadership,” Boles said.

Kelli Reed, No. 22, 5-10, freshman, guard, Clarkrange: Reed had foot surgery, and Boles is hoping she will be back after Christmas. A smooth shooter and great passer, Reed can play any position.

 Quamisha Spence, No. 40, 5-8, freshman, post, Lakeland, Fla.: Spence is smooth around the basket and uses pivot moves and shot fakes to get good looks. Boles said she is a good all-around player and one of the strongest players on the team.