The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 16, 2013

No. 2 W. Limestone off to strong start

By Jonathan Deal

— A mainstay at the Northwest Regional Tournament each season, West Limestone has become one of the most consistent 4A girls basketball teams in North Alabama under head coach Ben Campbell.

Following another trip to Wallace State last year, West won its first 10 games this season before falling to 3A No. 1 Lauderdale County Saturday. Ranked No. 2 in 4A, West Limestone isn’t sneaking up on anyone this season.

“I thought we would be all right, but you never know in girls basketball,” said Campbell. “We’ve just got to keep getting better everyday in practice. As long as we keep the right attitude, we will get better.”

Prior to the loss against the two-time defending champions in 3A Saturday, West Limestone had won 10 consecutive games and made it look easy. West won those games by an average score of 52-29 and only had one game decided by less than 15 points.

“These wins come with a price,” said Campbell. “We’ve had two girls with a torn ACL over that stretch. But this group is playing well. It’s been a good group to work with. We’re still trying to figure out who we are. Hopefully, we’ll just keep getting better.”

First it was forward Alexis Allen, who had a double-double in the season opener before suffering a season-ending injury the next game. Two weeks later against Catholic, starting point guard Kaylin Owens suffered an injury that will sideline her for a significant time.

The injuries to such key players make West Limestone’s 10-1 start all the more impressive.

“I knew what we had from the past few years,” said Campbell. “Even though we lost four seniors, we had five girls that played on the varsity. Rainey Tyler was one of the best players in middle school last year and Emilee Smith has been with us for a while.”

Campbell also mentioned Shelby Clay, Kayla Carter and Lauren Dean as players who have elevated their level of play this season.

West Limestone has another tough slate of games this week. The Lady Wildcats will travel to 2A No. 5 Tanner tonight and open area play against Central Friday. West Limestone will close the year with a trip to Orlando for the CSA Holiday Tournament the week after Christmas.

“We just finished are first month of the season and we have to keep working and getting better,” said Campbell. “Right now, we are trying to get ready for Tanner and Central.”

Tanner and West Limestone’s girls’ teams tip off at approximately 6 p.m. with the boys game to follow.