By Justin Graves

Sports Editor

GOOD HOPE — Michael Oldacre had a young team last season. The Good Hope High coach’s squad is even younger this year.

Just how young is this Good Hope team? There’s only one senior on the team — not to mention that there are no juniors, either.

Basically, Oldacre is looking at a squad that consists primarily of freshmen and sophomores. In some cases, the Raiders’ varsity team will be younger then their opponents’ junior varsity squad.

That doesn’t mean Good Hope’s season is a wash. This group of youngsters has potential.

This youthful team is expected to have a very bright future.

And that future begins right now.

Nina Mills started as Good Hope’s point guard as an eighth-grader last season. She will be one of the team’s leaders as a freshman.

Ashley Stanley saw significant playing time last season. The sophomore was also a star on the volleyball court this season.

Stanley will be playing as a veteran sophomore.

The list goes on and on.

“There’s some pretty good young players coming up right now,” said Oldacre, who led the Raiders to the Class 3A Northwest Regional last season. “There’s no doubt about it, we will be a very young team this year. But this is a very competitive bunch with a lot of energy.”

In recent years, Good Hope has played a slow, physical style of basketball. That’s because the Raiders had one of the area’s best post players — Jessica Raper.

Now that Raper has graduated, Good Hope doesn’t have a dominant presence in the post. In fact, the Raiders don’t even have a post presence.

Instead, Oldacre has a team loaded with guards.

That means Good Hope will have to play a different style of basketball this season.

“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we didn’t have a true post player,” Oldacre said. “It’s going to be different.

“We’ll have to change the way we play. This year, we’ll have to play more of a full-court game, be more of a jump-shot team.”

Oldacre is already making the necessary adjustments. At practice, his players have been focusing on ball-handling skills and shooting.

“Our ball-handling has to get better,” Oldacre said. “We also have to improve our shooting. But I think this group of players can get there.

“Right now, we’re preaching good defense. If we play good defense, it will help us overcome any mistakes we make early in the season. The main thing is that we have to get better as the season goes along. As long as we do that, we’ll be fine.”

‰ Justin Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 257 or by e-mail at jgraves@cullmantimes.com.

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