Lady Gryphons head to Cherryville short-handed

Dec. 26, 2012 @ 09:17 PM

The Thomas Jefferson girl’s basketball program is having one its best seasons in recent memory, but as they begin play in the Bud Black/Dennis Tate without a handful of key components.

Point guard Anna Dedmon is overseas in Africa during the duration of the tournament and as head coach James Greengrass put it, “it’ll be hard for her to make it.”

TJCA (3-3) will also be without Ellen Kirkpatrick and post-player Victoria Bennett.

The Lady Gryphons tipoff the tournament today against Bessemer City at 1 p.m.

“We aren’t at what i would call full strength. I do think my kids will play well and make a decent showing in the three-game set,” Greengrass said. “If [Bessemer City] has a full compliment of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen then we may be in trouble. It’s hard to compete against a team with a platoon of girls that can run your team to death.”

Bennett has been a strong presence for TJCA in the post along with Autumn Edwards who is battling injury.

“[Autumn] is still injured and we will only use her sparingly. She isn’t hurt too bad to where she can’t play some, but I don’t want to aggravate injuries,” said Greengrass. “If we lose a ball game because we can’t use her then that’s just how it’s going to be. She is much more valuable in January and February than she is in a three-day haul.”

With the low-post vacated, TJCA will be looking to score in other ways.

“For this tournament I’m looking at some more shooting, trying to work fast breaks and staying out of press situation,” Greengrass said.

To fill the void left by several varsity players, TJCA will look to younger girls to contribute.

“Jessica Black is one name to remember along with Alexis Burch and Alethia Griffin,” Greengrass said. “Those three are going to be favorable for us as they’ve made great strides and progress over the last 3-4 weeks.”

Even with the trimmed roster, Greengrass has faith in his Gryphons.

“From my standpoint we’re better organized and smarter than we were early in the season. I think we’ll be okay. We may even surprise some people with a victory here and there,” said Greengrass. “I just hope that we can put together what we can.”