The North Hardin Lady Trojans hit the court Monday for the first time this summer in the Duke’s Summer Shootout at Elizabethtown High School.

After coming off of a 16-15 season and losing two players to graduation, Coach Whitney Hooper is looking to find different lineups and for players to fill the roles of Bri Moton and Alexus Brown.

Even though the Lady Trojans lost its first game of the shootout against Bishop Brossart, they plan to use this time to adjust roles.

“We’re learning what this team is going to have,” Hooper said. “Losing Bri Moton and now trying to define what our inside game is going to look like and who is going to develop in that position for us. This is our first game this summer, so we’re finding which group is going to mesh the best.”

Over the summer, the Lady Trojans are focusing on making the adjustments needed before they start the season in the fall.

“Offensively, I think we need to find our rhythm,” Hooper said. “I don’t expect us to hit a ton of shots right now. Addison (Sutton) is coming off of her state tournament run in tennis, but just trying to find a consistency and we need to establish who is going to be our big rebounder.”

Last season, Moton controlled the paint with 187 rebounds and six per game. She also averaged 7.3 points for the Lady Trojans. Hooper is looking for other players to step up and fill Moton’s role.

Sutton returned from her run in the Top Seed Tennis Club/KHSAA State Tennis Tournament just over a week ago where she made it to the Round of 16.

She also reiterated that finding their roles during the summer and building their team chemistry is important to a successful season.

“We only lost two seniors, but we still lost a big part of our team,” Sutton said. “Finding team chemistry, finding our roles and helping each other out is important.”

Sutton led the Lady Trojans last season with 13.2 points per game and 44.8 percent (90-for-201) from beyond the arc.

Sutton said playing in events such as the Duke’s Summer Shootout throughout the summer is a great chance to learn and find more areas to improve on.

“I think we learned that we’ve got to be smart,” Sutton said. “We have to slow down. I think our defense was good and we talked it up a lot. We can always improve.”

Hooper is coming into her third season leading North Hardin and expects her team to find their roles this summer and come out ready to bring the intensity in the upcoming season.

“I think we will be scrappy and we will play hard,” Hooper said. “I don’t question our defense at all. I think we will bring defensive intensity.”

Hooper wants to find the right fit for her team’s offense and plans to use the months leading up to the season to work on that.

“It’s just going to be developing that offensive philosophy that we want,” she said.

“I expect to improve a lot more. From one season to another season we won nine more games. That was big for us and I think we could win more this season and make it further in districts,” Sutton said.

Sutton said her teams’ goal is the same as last year, to make it to regions and they plan to work hard over the summer and throughout the season to reach that goal.

“We have to execute more,” she said. “We lost a senior that rebounded a lot so we’ve got to learn to box out and get those rebounds. We lost a post that finishes inside so we are just finding what works best for us.”

Zachery Combest can be reached at 270-505-1754 or

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