published Monday, January 28th, 2013

Kilgore's rise lifts Lady Tigers

Despite losing four seniors from last season's team, the Whitwell girls' basketball team is in a similar position to previous years because of the improvement of a several players.

Included in that list is guard Kelsey Kilgore.

The 5-foot-4 junior guard averaged 18 points in a pair of District 6-A victories over Richard Hardy and Lookout Valley, and her performances were enough to earn her Times Free Press Player of the Week honors for the week.

The Lady Tigers are 19-4 and 6-0 in the district, with games against Sale Creek and Marion County.

"Kelsey is just a tough player in general, and a big reason for our success this year," Whitwell coach Eric Zensen said. "Regardless of if things go well or bad, she's always positive. She's just so much more confident in her game over last year, and that's been the biggest difference."

Against the Lady Yellow Jackets, she had a game-high 20 points, an output that nearly equaled that of the entire Lookout Valley basketball team as they handily won 62-24. Whitwell followed that win with a 73-38 defeat of Richard Hardy on Friday, one in which Kilgore finished with 16 points, and her first-half output was huge for the team, one in which she hit four 3s and had 14 points.

Zensen said that in the preseason, he saw the potential for a good team, but he feels as though there's still a "long way to go."

"It's just a testament to how hard they've worked," he said. "I'm thrilled and proud of this team and what they've given to get to the point where they are. They've got a long ways to go with an extremely tough couple of weeks ahead. It's a tall task, but hopefully we can continue down the path we're on."

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