MOUNT WASHINGTON - Bullitt East girls’ head coach Chris Stallings, who will coach the Kentucky All-Stars this summer in the annual clash with Indiana’s best, found out his roster on Monday after 37 of the top players in the state went through try-outs at Manual High School on Friday and Saturday.
Stallings was the assistant coach on the team last summer when Kentucky split a pair of games with Indiana with the help of Bullitt East standout Kayla Thacker. Stallings is the second Lady Charger head coach to lead the state’s best players into battle. Jerry Troutman coached the 1996 Girls’ Kentucky All-Stars.
Stallings was pleased with the way the try-outs went and he is optimistic that the All-Stars can be competitive against Indiana. Kentucky will be led by Miss Basketball Sara Hammond, a 6-2 McDonald’s All-American, who has signed with the University of Louisville.
Hammond was already on the team as Miss Basketball but Stallings was pleased with her hard effort at the try-outs.
“I think that it really helped that Miss Basketball played like she was trying out for the team,” Stallings said on Monday. “I really liked the determination with this bunch. They are competitive. I like competitive kids. I think we have a team of them.”
While everyone will play in the two games for Kentucky, the All-Star games often come down to the top five or six players doing most of the work. Stallings feels that he can go deeper than that this summer.
“This is a pretty deep team,” the coach said. “We’re deep in many spots. We haven’t been together yet, but I think it will shake out fine. I’ll know more after the mini-camp.”
Stallings will get together with his team May 21-22 for workouts and will then spend the week leading up to the two games against Indiana practicing with the squad. Kentucky and Indiana will meet on June 11 at Bellarmine University and then battle the next day at Canseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The All-Stars will scrimmage two different Kentucky Junior All-Star teams in the week leading up to the two contests. Stallings did say that Bullitt East junior Nikole Isabel will play in one of those two games.
One player that Stallings won’t have with the All-Stars is Lady Chargers senior Lindey Young who was invited to the try-outs, but was not selected for the team.
“Lindey had a great try-out,” Stallings said. “She really did. Like I told all of them at the start, it was a great honor for the 37 who were there.”
The 6-2 Young just happened to be a center in a year packed with post-players. The Kentucky All-Stars will have four players on the roster 6-foot or taller.
“It was good,” Young said of her experience with the best seniors in the state. “It was awesome to be considered. That was a pretty select group. I made a lot of friends. I’ll be at the Bellarmine game to cheer them on.”
Stallings will be assisted by Stacy Pendleton of Manual and Chris Souder of Mason County.
The team members that Stallings will have available include Sara Hammond (Rockcastle County), Carla Booth (Sheldon Clark), Averee Fields (Calloway County), Danay Fothergill (Pulaski Southwestern), Chastity Gooch (Franklin-Simpson, Natalie Greenwell (Elizabethtown), Mechael Guess (Manual), Julian Miller (Mercy), Maddie Peabody (Sacred Heart), Prisha Rogers (Clark County), Kristen Steinback (Scott County) and Lauren Tibbs (Scott High).
Washburn Not Selected
Bullitt East senior Corey Washburn was also invited to the try-outs for the Boys’ Kentucky All-Stars and he had a strong weekend, but did not make the final cut.
“I played a whole lot better than I expected,” Washburn said. “Coach (Troy) Barr told me a few things to do and I played as hard as I could I was like 11th out of the top 10. I was just a few spots away.”
In Bullitt East’s just completed season, the red and gold played against nine (Zach Price of Jeffersontown was injured and actually didn’t play in the meeting that Bullitt East won) of the 12 players selected for the team including Mr. Basketball Anthony Hickey of Christian County.