ASHEBORO – It’s a learning season for the Asheboro girls’ basketball team.
Last year at about this time, the team was embarking on a shortened season that resulted on a spot in the Class 3-A state championship game.
Now the Blue Comets are in a different situation.
“We’re working on things and we’re improving and getting better,” coach Don Corry said.
It’s not a huge surprise to Corry that there are growing pains this season. The Blue Comets lost personnel that accounted for about 85 percent of the offensive production off last season’s team.
This Asheboro team has four freshmen and four sophomores. It’s a different type of group for Corry.
“Not this young,” he said in comparing to past teams. “They’re inexperienced. Just getting them playing time so they realize what they’re doing in practice (and how it relates to games). It’s slow, but we expect that.”
The Blue Comets, who had four senior starters, played on the final day of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association season last year. That came in the title game contested at Providence Grove, where they fell 51-40 to Carson in the team’s only defeat of the season.
For all the rewards that came that season for the Blue Comets, there were challenges for the program. There was no junior varsity team because of limited participation.
Now, there’s a JV team this season, something Corry said could prove beneficial, though the lack of available opponents is likely to mean that squad plays fewer than a dozen games.
The varsity team has had difficulty scoring at times, something that Corry connects to the experience level and a roster without a lot of height.
“It’s overwhelming for our girls,” he said.
The team’s record is 2-12, though there have been breakthroughs after losses in the first nine games of the season.
Sion Murrain was a starter last season as a freshman, so she has been a key player. But in the second game of the Davidson-Randolph Christmas Classic, she went out with an ankle injury and hasn’t returned to game action. Through 11 games, Murrain averaged a team-best 13.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
But Corry said contributions are coming from across the roster. For instance, he said, sophomore center Ellen Long has turned in strong rebounding outings. She has 8.5 rebounds per game to go with 5.4 points per game.
“We just don’t have that one person who can come in and score 18, 20 points for us,” he said.
Asheboro is scoring 36.4 points per game.
Because of a positive COVID-19 test for a member of the JV team and resulting close contacts, the Blue Comets had their season paused earlier this month. They’re expected back in action Friday night for the first time in about two weeks. That begins a stretch that could involve four games in eight nights.
This all goes into building the Blue Comets back to a contender, Corry said.
“We’re eager and they’re trying and we look forward to what’s coming,” he said. “We’re going to get back to that (level of a state contender). Maybe not this year.”