By LARRY VAUGHT
Earlier this summer I got to watch the South Laurel girls play several games for coach Chris Souder, who took over as head coach just before last season started. This is his first offseason with the Cardinals and should make a difference next year since Souder won state titles at Mercer County in 2017 and 2018 before briefly trying college coaching.
Souder has three bonafide stars with Division I offers who should really be fun to watch this season.
Senior Ally Collett, a Western Kentucky commit, has already scored 2,188 points and has to be a 2020 Miss Basketball contender.
She has shot 47.1 percent (728 of 1,548) from the field in her career, including 38.5 percent (209 of 539) from 3-point range. She’s also a career 80.5 percent (513 of 637) from the foul line.
The point guard has over 500 assists — she led the state with seven assists per game last year — and 250 steals. She’s not only the school’s all-time leading scorer but also the all-time assists leader.
One game I watched this summer she had 40 points in a 74-70 loss to Southwestern, last year’s 12th Region champion and state runner-up that returned four starters.
Her teammate, Amerah Steele, committed to Eastern Kentucky, de-committed when there was a coaching change and now is committed to the Colonels again.
She’s a dynamic long-range shooter as well as she’s hit 38.3 percent (203 of 500) from 3-point range and 46 percent overall (603 of 1,396) from the field. At the foul line she’s made 257 of 344 attempts in her career — a 75 percent mark.
Steele has already score 1,744 points and also had 412 career rebounds from her guard position.
Junior Sydnie Hall transferred to South Laurel before last season and goes into this year with 1,657 points — meaning the Cardinals should have three 2,000-point scorers when next season ends. She has yet to make her college choice.
She has made 236 3-pointers, including a team-high 80 last year, along with 367 career assists and 181 career steals.
Souder’s fast-paced style of play suits all three players perfectly and he’s expecting big years from them all.
“Last year they were getting used to me and I was getting used to them,” Souder said. “They know more now about what I expect and have learned how hard I expect them to work. But they are all really good players and all three should have really good seasons with us.”