By Tony Altobelli
Killeen Daily Herald
SALADO After coaching duties at four different schools in 15 years, new Salado girls basketball coach Scott Copeland hopes he has found a home in Eagle Country.
"Everyone has been great to me since I've been here," Copeland said. "I'd love to stay here as long as I possibly can."
Copeland takes over for longtime Lady Eagle coach Larry Salisbury, and the former Troy boys hoops coach knows the tradition that has been established at Salado and looks forward to the challenge of keeping those standards high.
"At my other stops, it's always been about trying to rebuild a program from the ground up, but here, that's not the case," Copeland said. "I understand that this team is used to winning and I hope to keep that trend alive."
The Lady Eagles are fresh off another solid season in which a trip to the regional quarterfinals was attained en route to a 22-13 record.
"This group so far is the hardest working group I've ever been associated with," Copeland said. "They get along great together and I believe that good team chemistry is important for success."
With a relatively young group returning this year, senior point guard and first-team all-district selection Jenny Goode looks to bring the group together with her leadership and veteran experience.
"If I'm going to pick one spot on the floor where experience helps the most, it's definitely the point guard spot," Copeland said. "Jenny is a great girl on and off the court. She works hard and has a tremendous about of ability."
Junior Kelsey Smith joins Goode in the backcourt and provides some quality perimeter shooting. "She's a hustler out there, doing the little things that can help make a team successful," Copeland said of Smith.
In the post, 5-foot-9 junior Kate Marshall will be a factor down low for the Lady Eagles. "We're going to count on her heavily in terms of running our offense down low," Copeland said.
Early in the season has been a "getting-to-know-you" type of feeling for the Lady Eagles and their new coach.
"They're learning new terms and jargon that they're not familiar with so it's been about patience," Copeland said. "They're learning what is expected of them and they're learning what type of coach I am.
"I'd like to think I'm a pretty upbeat type of coach. I believe in hustle, and defense wins you ball games, and I feel like I have a pretty encouraging demeanor."
So why the switch to girls hoops after 15 years as a boys coach?
"My daughter Hannah is 8 years old and perhaps someday she'll be playing basketball at this level. I figured I better see what types of differences there are between the boys game and the girls game.
"To be honest, there really isn't that much of a difference."
The Lady Eagles' home opener is against Crawford on Nov. 20.
Contact Tony Altobelli at email@example.com