The Lehighton girls basketball team has made its mark in the first three seasons under Coach Tony Thomas. No longer are the Lady Indians the push over of the league, but look to be vying for a spot to play for the league championship.
"Lehighton had been the team others looked at in picking up an and easy 'W', but that changed over the last three seasons," Thomas said. "We've changed that thinking."
After three straight seasons of reaching the final four of the Mountain Valley Conference tournament, Lehighton enters the season without a front line of Vanessa Rimbey and Sheena White. One would think that the Lady Indians are going to take a dip this season and that is what Coach Thomas wants everyone else to think.
"I've got a good core of seniors that can lead this team and actually surprise a lot of people," Thomas said.
Last year's leading scorer Jordyn Homyak returns to shred opposing defenses once again, but the key to the season is finding help for the senior scorer.
"If you think about Lehighton, you think Jordyn," Thomas said. "I want it to be a little bit more than Jordyn. She is going to get her points and we know that, but we need to get some help from the other four players on the floor. We're going to need someone outside of Jordyn to score."
Thomas is looking to Karista Schweizer and Brittany Klotz to take on some of the scoring.
"(Klotz) will give us a little more depth in the guard position," Thomas said of Klotz. "She runs up and down the floor consistently, keeps her head up and plays hard."
Schweizer is battling health issues and coach Thomas is not sure when she will get on the court, but when she does it will be a huge piece to this year's puzzle.
Inside, Katie Green and Kenzi Teno will replace the departing front line that was the core of the Indians recent success.
"We may not be as deep as we would like but they are a good core group of seniors," Thomas said. "Katie Green and Kenzie Teno have big shoes to fill but I have total confidence in them."
Coming up behind the talented group of seniors is a strong group of freshmen that could play a large role in the season. That mixed in with some juniors could provide the depth necessary for success.
Thomas says Kasaundra "Lou" Barclay, who missed a large chunk of last season due to injury, and Julianna Evans are going to be big keys to this season coming off the bench.
"She has speed and quickness but lacks the experience," Thomas said of Barclay.
Getting over the hump and into the MVC title game is a major goal for this season and in Thomas' fourth year the foundation is set to expand on what the players have done in the past. That is what he believes will help the team move forward and get to that elusive final game.
"I have a lot of confidence in the kids and they believe in the new system that is in place that ties together some of the other things we've been doing in the past."
"It's gonna take 100 percent attitude and 100 percent belief that you can do it and don't let anyone out work you," said Thomas.