MANCHESTER, Ky. (WYMT) - Despite boasting the 6th best record in the 13th region last year, the Clay County Lady Tigers made a semi-final exit in the 49th District tournament.
"Well we didn't make it as far as we wanted to last year obviously but I think this year we have started to work harder and everybody is more mature. We just understand that it is now or never," said senior guard Shelby Phillips.
The Lady Tigers are primed and ready for a comeback this season thanks to so much experience coming back for this year.
"We have three senior starters, a junior and a sophomore," said senior center Summer Parker. "We've all been starting together for the past three, four years."
"We're better as far as knowing what to do because we've got so much experience, we've got like 20 years starting experience in our starting line up. It is unreal," said Clay County girls' basketball head coach James Burchell. "So we are better, but the key to it is that we have to have some help off of the bench this year."
Clay County looks to maintain their fast tempo and Coach Burchell feels like his group of tigers can compete with anybody.
"We are the type of team, if we play hard and play smart and shoot well, we can play with anybody," said Burchell. "The games that we don't shoot well, you can't make mistakes, you can't make turnovers that type of thing. You have got to do things right to win."
"We are going to be more aggressive for sure, our defense has improved so much, we have been working hard in practice," said junior guard Kaylee Mathis.
With their improved and experienced team, the Lady Tigers once again have their eyes set on the region tournament, and beyond.
"Make it to Region, and hopefully make it to Rupp," said Phillips.
"Win the District first, then win the Region and make it to Rupp," said Parker.
"Our goals have always been to win the region. Win the District and Region," said Burchell. "We have come up short the last few years, we've just not had the talent that we've had in years past, but I think now we are starting to get back to that. We have good young players coming in, we've got kids that have played and got experience, again, on the nights we shoot well, we are going to have a nice team."
The Clay County Lady Tigers open up the season ranked No. 6 in the girls' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.