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Edmonson County guard Katie Lindsey (right) lines up to shoot during last season’s game against Greenwood at Greenwood High School.

Editor’s note – This is the first in a 16-part series of high school basketball previews counting down to the scheduled opening night of the regular season on Jan. 4.

The Edmonson County girls’ basketball team has been at the top of the District 12 standings for the last three years. Despite losing three starters, the expectations remain the same.

The Lady Cats will try to lead the way again in a district that includes Grayson County, Whitesville Trinity and a Butler County team looking to build off a strong finish last season.

“We made history last year, the only time that there was a three-peat,” Edmonson County coach Bart Weaver said. “Our goal now is to try and write a little more history and win four in the row. Our goals will never change.”

Edmonson County finished 20-11 last year, earning a third straight district title and advancing to the Region 3 tournament. The Lady Cats’ success could hinge on senior point guard Katie Lindsey, who provides experience and leadership. Senior Maci McCombs is Edmonson County’s leading 3-point shooter, while Shea VanMeter improved as the season went on and is looking to have a strong senior season.

Sophomore Lily Jane Vincent was the team’s top reserve last season, while junior Paige Wolfe also got a lot of playing time. Both should see larger roles this season, with big things also expected from junior Hallie Cassidy.

“I think we can be pretty good defensively to offset some of our weaknesses,” Weaver said. “I think we can be real competitive and have another chance to win another district with this team. I really think all four teams in this district are about even.”

Butler County will be young with no seniors, but brings back the bulk of last year’s roster including the top three scorers. It was trial under fire for the Lady Bears last season, who started 4-11 before finishing 13-17 with a loss to Grayson County in the opening round of the District 12 tournament.

“We had a slow start, but I think most of that had to do with experience,” Butler County coach Lexie Belcher said. “Most of them at least played a while together, but not at the varsity level. Our first win was a district win and I think that was the spark.”

Junior center Taylin Clark averaged a double-double last season, leading Butler County in scoring and rebounding with 16.3 ppg and 12.5 rpg. Junior Gracie Cardwell almost averaged a double-double too, while junior Jaelyn Taylor averaged 15.6 points a night and sophomore Jenna Phelps was the Lady Bears’ top 3-point threat.

Belcher said she hopes last season can be the springboard to bigger things this season.

“I don’t even know who the favorite is at this point,” Belcher said. “Our focus since I started with the program has been the district championship. I feel confident that our girls are mentally and physically prepared to win the 12th District.”{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.

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