Southside may return to final four

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 2004

Southside High School girls’ basketball coach Matthews Williams Jr. is ready to answer questions comparing last year’s team to the 2004 squad.

After all, Williams understands that a 23-7 record and a trip to the Class 4A state Final Four in 2003 can bring about great expectations for the upcoming season.

With seven returnees, including four starting seniors, the Lady Panthers have quite a bit of experience.

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“I can’t make a comparison to this year’s team and last year’s,” Williams said. “I’m sure there are going to be a lot of comparisons. It doesn’t bother me. I’m just worried about what we do and what we’ve got.”

What the Lady Panthers have is a solid collection of talent in both the starting rotation as well as coming off the bench.

The Lady Panthers’ starting five includes senior point guard Kendra Marzette, senior center Kimberly Broadnax, senior shooting guard Demetrice Shelton, junior forward Jennifer Anderson and senior forward Katricia Brown.

Four of the five – Marzette, Shelton, Anderson and Brown – received some pre-season experience when they took part in the Blue Chip Basketball Camp in Louisville over the summer. Marzette was named to the camp’s All-Star Team.

“It’s about being around other girls from other cities and getting tournament-type experience,” Williams said.

The third-year coach added that Anderson has stepped up her game since the camp. Broadnax also is playing well thus far.

“The camp made a big difference in her game,” Williams said. “She’s a lot more aggressive on the boards.

“Kimberly’s a strong inside presence,” Williams added. “When she gets going, she can rip the boards. That’s one of our strengths this year. We have people we can rely on to hit the boards.”

Others expected to see significant playing time this season are freshman forward Kelsey Brown, junior guard Jasmine Smiley, junior wing guard Lyshala Lewis and sophomore center Jessica Rush.

As for those comparisons, Williams isn’t ready to place the championship rings on his team just yet, but don’t count out the Lady Panthers.

“These girls can be as good as they want to be and as good as I want to push them,” Williams said. “And I can do a lot of pushing. I’m a very pushy coach.”