Lady Buffs lean heavily on Carter County talent

By Matt Hill

   Milligan College women's head coach Rich Aubrey has always searched out high school basketball talent in Carter County. This year's squad proves it.
   The Lady Buffaloes have four former Carter County prep standouts on the roster, and they're all making an impact.
   Three of the ladies are from Hampton, including freshman Kari Stout, sophomore Ginny White and junior Amanda Greene. Happy Valley is also represented, as former Lady Warrior Lacy York is on the squad.
   White, Stout and Greene all played with each other at one time in high school. Add York to the mix, and White feels this shows the kind of girls basketball talent in Carter County.
   "We all get along great, and we love having Lacy here," White said. "We love the fact we have people here from Carter County. It does show that Carter County can put out good basketball programs, and produce people who can play at this level."
   Stout has proven she can play at several levels.
   Stout has become one of the most elusive scorers in the Appalachian Athletic Conference in her first year. She is averaging 18 points per contest and 20 per game in conference play.
   Despite her scoring prowess so far, Stout still feels she has a ways to go in her progression to the college level.
   "I wanted to come in and help the team as much as I could," she said. "I feel like I'm relied more on offense than on defense, because I had to come here and learn the new defense. It was kind of hard for me at first, but I think I'm kind of getting the hang of it right now. I think that's my biggest role is trying to learn defense."
   Stout has admitted that offense is her biggest strength, but she tries to help her teammates score as well.
   "What I try to do on offense for example is to create opportunities for my teammates," she said. "I drive or I take the ball in there, and try to look out for teammates on the side."
   Despite being a freshman, last year's Prep Player-of-the-Year in Northeast Tennessee is showing leadership skills expected by seniors.
   "I try to be a leader even though I am a freshman," Stout said. "I try to encourage everyone. I look up to Vera Conkin on the team. I look up to her a lot, and she helps me out more than anything."
   White is averaging around five assists per game, and that is to be expected from a lot of local fans that watched her as a Lady Bulldog.
   But what wasn't expected was how her scoring output has increased since she entered college. White feels more confident about her scoring abilities these days.
   "It's mostly my confidence," she said. "I've gotten more confidence now in myself. Both coaches have confidence in me, so that really helps to gain it for myself. Therefore, I can carry it out on the floor with me. When I have the opportunity, I try to take it and score, and just help out my team the best I can."
   White, along with Stout and Greene, have joined the likes of great Hampton players such as Glenda Blevins, Crystal Grindstaff and Leslie Campbell to wear the orange and white.
   White wanted to go nowhere else once she thought it through.
   "I had two choices," she said. "It was down to King and Milligan. I prayed about the decision, and I had always wanted to come to Milligan anyway. So when the opportunity was there, I felt like this is where I belonged. So far I've had a wonderful experience. I love it and I don't even miss high school ball anymore. This is just a great place.
   Greene, who has become a major presence down low for the Lady Buffs, has also enjoyed her time at Milligan.
   Greene believes one of the best things she has done at the school is making basketball enjoyable for the team.
   "I help get my teammates up and excited, and make basketball fun," she said. "It got to where it wasn't a lot of fun in high school. It's fun now.
   Greene says there is a lot less pressure on her to perform at this level.
   "I enjoy playing for my team and for myself," she said. "There's no pressure.
   Greene is also happy to have her old teammates at Hampton back together.
   "We've got a good chemistry and plus we're friends," she said. "It helps being friends on and off the court. You don't have to get acquainted with anybody."
   York has been hampered by injuries in her young career, including this season. But the former Warrior believes she is just starting to hit her stride.
   "I'm so glad to be back," York said. "I was getting bored on the sideline. They were doing good, but I just wanted to be out there helping them. I just love to play basketball. It's a fun game.
   The outgoing sophomore really did miss playing basketball when she was out early in the year.
   "I would have gone out there with my crutches if I needed to," York said.
   York knows that the other three Carter County girls on the Milligan squad have made a huge impact so far, and she is ready to join the crowd.
   "Once my knee gets back to shape, I hope to make as big of an impact as they make," she said. "I hope to get the points and the rebounds and all that stuff."