The Burgin Lady Bulldogs basketball team is under new leadership for the 2018-2019 season, with a familiar face returning to the sideline.
Head Coach Keith Monson returns as Burgin head coach after a 12-year absence to take over the spot on the bench previously held by Chad Terrell.
“I got away from it for several years, but I’ve always been interested in coming back. Burgin is home. I’m on the board of education here,” said Monson. “And when Coach Terrell resigned, I decided to take over.”
Monson is a class of 1976 graduate of Burgin.
He coached the girls team from 1996-1997, boys team in 1998-2000 and was back on the sidelines as an assistant for the Lady Bulldogs from 2001-2006, before returning in 2018.
The Lady Bulldogs finished 4-23 last season, 0-4 in region and 0-3 in district play. Their season ended last year in the first round of the 46th district tournament to the Mercer County Lady Titans, the eventual district, region and state champion.
Monson takes over a squad that lost two key seniors from last season. Miranda Hungate and Summer Mullins were a big part of Burgin’s offense and defense. Hungate was the vocal leader on the floor, but Monson has taken notice of some upperclassmen that have taken over that role.
Junior Julia Holton, who will be out close to a month to start the season with an injury, has stepped up into that leadership role. Holton has been playing varsity for two full years now and knows what to expect from her coaches.
“Julia (Holton) and Hannah (Stewart) are our two oldest girls and they have been great team leaders so far,” said Monson. “Julia is a little more vocal than any of them, she leads them and gets them into our routine in practice. She takes over and gets us into that. I didn’t have to go to her and ask her to lead, she just took it upon herself and that says a lot about her.”
When Holton returns from injury, expect her to handle the ball a lot and set up her teammates for easy baskets.
Stewart can also play the point and shoot the ball when needed. While Holton is out, Stewart and freshman Ellie Jenkins will lead the backcourt.
Just like Holton, Stewart and Jenkins have a couple years of varsity experience under their belts. Stewart is one of the best shooters on the team, so look for her to spot up in the corners where she is comfortable to get in position for a three-point shot.
“She is very athletic and a really good teammate. She’s not as vocal as Julia (Holton), but she leads by example and does everything you ask her to do,” said Monson.”
Jenkins is the heart and soul of the team. You can always count on her for hustle and tenacious defense.
“She gives it her all when she is out there and it has rubbed off on everyone else so far,” said Monson.
After Holton, Jenkins and Stewart, the next two positions will be in rotation, but will have familiar faces on the court from last season.
Freshmen Grace Cocanougher and Brynn Simpson will likely take over the last two spots on the court. Monson talked more so about playing whoever is playing their best, rather than playing positions. Cocanougher has varsity experience and is comfortable bringing the ball up the court. Simpson is the tallest player on the team, standing close to six feet tall, and will be called up to rebound, take over the paint and protect the paint.
After the first five, three other players are expected to challenge for minutes off the bench. Monson said eighth graders Kaiden Lewis and Baileigh Turner, along with seventh grader Lauren Edwards will be the first three off the bench in the 2018-2019 season.
“All three of them give it their all no matter what the score is and that is all you can ask for as a coach,” said Monson.
Jaylen Tudor, Avery Gray and Hannah Simpson round out the rest of the squad for Burgin. Monson knows his team is very young from top to bottom, and that it will take time for team chemistry to build and for everyone to feel comfortable with each other on the court.
“Playing together for a couple years helps with that, but every season is different,” said Monson.
Burgin will be playing their traditional schedule, playing familiar teams like Piarist School, Frederick Fraize and Danville Christian. The Lady Bulldogs will play one district game this season against the East Jessamine Lady Jaguars.
Burgin will open their season on Friday, Nov. 30, when they host Christian Fellowship at 7:30 p.m.
Monson talked about what he would like to see from now until the first game of the season.
“We just need to finish plays better. We run our offense really well and get open shots, but we just need to knock them down,” he said. “We do a lot of shooting and ball handling drills to try and correct those things.”
2019-2019 Burgin girls basketball schedule can be found below. The schedule is separated in order by date, opponent and site.
11/30 – Christian Fellowship (Home)
12/1 – Calvary Christian (Home)
12/3 – Frankfort (Away)
12/7 – Robertson County (Home)
12/8 – Frederick Fraize (Home)
12/10 – Model (Away)
12/11 – St. Patrick (Away)
12/15 – Piarist School (Danville Christian Academy)
12/19 – Frederick Fraize (Away)
1/4 – Kentucky Country Day (Away)
1/5 – Fort Knox (Away)
1/8 – Berea (Away)
1/12 – Silver Grove (Away)
1/14 – Danville Christian (Washington County)
1/18 – Piarist School (Home)
1/19 – Piarist School (Home)
1/22 – East Jessamine (Away)
1/25 – St. Francis (Home)
1/26 – Augusta (Home)
1/28 – Garrard County (Home)
2/2 – Riverside Christian (Buckhorn)
2/4 – Frankfort (Home)
2/9 – Portland Christian (Away)
2/12 – Model (Home)
2/16 – Riverside Christian (Home).
The Burgin Lady Bulldogs will also be hosting the 46th district boys and girls basketball tournament at the conclusion of the regular season. This will be the first time Burgin has ever hosted the postseason tournament.