Paintsville Lady Tigers
The Paintsville Lady Tigers are coming off a great season, going 19-13 before falling to Lawrence County in the 15th Region semifinals.
Luckily for Coach Les Trimble and his Lady Tigers, he returns virtually an entire team this season after losing just one senior to graduation – Ava Hyden.
That’s not to say that one person is easy to replace, however. The loss of Hyden makes a big hole in both offense and defense. She averaged 7.7 points per game and had 268 rebounds last year, or 8.4 per game. Hyden was a tough, physical player that Paintsville will surely miss. They’ll have to find young players to step up into the role Hyden leaves behind. And although Paintsville loses just one senior, they’re still pretty young overall.
The Lady Tigers will dress two seniors, Kali Mulcahy and Camryn Helton this season.
Helton is a big piece of the puzzle for Paintsville. She is a floor general who averaged 7.7 points per game last season. She also had 136 rebounds last season. Helton is arguably the best free-throw shooter on the team as well with a 68.6 percent rate on shots from the line.
Mulcahy was solid in her junior season, netting 136 points in 32 games. She also pulled down 46 rebounds.
Three juniors – Kaylyn Vannoy, Emilea Preece, and Kat Balwin make up a loaded junior class.
Vannoy is a new face to the Paintsville program, but she might look familiar. She suited up for Johnson Central ever since her seventh-grade season, back in 2017-18. She averaged 3.9 points per game for the Lady Eagles last season with 3.4 rebounds per game.
Preece is the heart and soul of the offense when it comes down to it. She scored 502 points last season, by far the most on the team. A rebounding machine as well thanks to her size, she brought down 263 boards last season. She can get it done from behind the arc too, shooting 29 percent from the three-point line last season.
Bailey Porter and Emma Keeton are the only two sophomores this season. Neither played last season, but Keeton has ties to the program, as her sister Anna was a key player for the Lady Tigers before graduating in 2019.
Four freshmen are included on the roster this season, and four eighth graders including last year’s standout player, Kylie Kinner.
As a seventh-grader Kinner lit up the scoreboards last season, putting up numbers worthy of the second highest scorer on the team with 351 points, 11 per game average. Kinner does a lot of her work behind the arc, making 58 three-pointers last season to lead the team. Despite her age and size she was also the third highest rebounder on the team last season. Kinner is only an eighth-grader, but her potential is unmatched and she should have another stellar season.
Overall, the Lady Tigers have the coaching and the talent to make another deep playoff run this season.
Written by Mike Muncy Sports Writer