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Lady Airedales taking it one game at a time

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

New players, a quicker tempo, and the great unknown. That's what Alma girls basketball coach Codey Mann is facing after two games. 

 

And that doesn't include the great unknown hovering over 2020-21 known as COVID-19. 

 

The Lady Airedales host the Future School of Fort Smith next week. He may or may not know the fate of star sophomore Lydia Mann. 

 

Mann was injured in the team's opener with Atkins. 

 

"Lydia's injury is a concern," he said. "We've got to go after these next few games and figure out how to be better."  

 

"We have a lot of kids who haven't played a lot of big minutes of varsity basketball," Mann said. "Them getting acclimated to playing varsity basketball and getting comfortable is big."

 

Without playing in tournaments this month or next, due to social distancing guidelines brought on because of the coronavirus, Mann hopes to play 10 non-conference games leading up to the team's 5A-West opener with Mountain Home. 

 

Alma ran out to a 17-5 lead on Atkins Tuesday before dropping a late 56-55 decision.

 

Friday, Alma built a 23-2 lead against Springdale and coasted to a 53-37 victory. 

 

"It kind of showed us what we need to improve on," senior Loryn Kelley said. "It's different than playing against each other in practice. You're playing against the same people every day and it was good for us to see some new people and figure out what we stand out on and obviously what we don't. 

 

"I think it's only going to improve from here."

 

"The speed of the game and the adrenaline may have hurt them a little bit," Mann said following the team's opener. "(But) we're going to lace them up and try to get better."

 

Mann said defense is one of his top priorities. 

 

"We can't make mental mistakes that lead to easy baskets on the other end," he said. "If we can correct that, I think we'll be better. 

 

"You score 55 points in a high school basketball game, you should have a chance to win."

 

Junior Chloe Trusty chimed in with 13 points and six rebounds in Tuesday's loss to Atkins. Trusty had 19 points during Friday's win over Springdale. 

 

"We're very happy to have her," Kelley said. "I think she's a great addition inside. She's hard to guard, she works hard there. I guard her every day in practice and she bullies people in there; she's a strong girl."

 

Kelley had 21 points in Tuesday's opener and 17 Friday.