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There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the Lady Dinos as they step back on to the hardwood. One of the reasons behind the anticipation is that Carbon is loaded with returning starters, including Amiah Timothy, Madi Orth, Kennedy Williams and Haley Garrish, just to name a few. If that was not enough, the Lady Dinos are welcoming a new addition to the team, though not the region. Tatum Tanner will join the fold after spending the last three years with Emery, and add even more experience to the group.
“We are feeling really positive about everything,” began head coach Cami Carlson. “Our girls are giving great effort and the leadership is there.”
Another feather in the Dinos’ cap is that they are entering the second year under Carlson and her staff. Now that the girls have an understanding of their assignments and roles within the scheme, they do not have to think, but can rather can go out and play. Carlson has already noticed the shift.
“It’s hard with a new coaching staff coming in. New ideas, new plays that we’re running and new focuses.” Carlson continued, “So I feel like this year we have more of an identity now than we did last year. No fault of the girls last year, it’s just the situation. The transition is always a little tougher.”
In addition to playing loose, this year’s squad will have more height than any other Dino team in recent memory. Tanner and Garrish will allow Orth to use her quickness at the 3 or 4 without giving up any size down low. In fact, Garrish and Tanner are taller than Orth, so the Dinos will actually gain height within their rotations. “This is the tallest we’ve ever been. We’re still kinda amazed that we have such height this year,” mentioned Carlson.
Ironically enough, when asked what areas the team is working on going into the season, Carlson replied that they need to use their height. “We need to look inside more. We haven’t had the height that we have now, so we’re used to playing a little bit different basketball. That’s got to be more of our focus than it has been in the past.”
The Dinos will certainly need to take advantage of their height as they gear up for the long season. Carbon will play one of the top bigs in the state at least twice when they face Richfield’s Willardson. The ‘Cats are coming off a second-place finish and are sure to provide top-notch competition within the region, while Emery always plays tough. Carbon would love to finish atop the Region 12 standings, but that is not the extent of the Dinos’ goals.
“100 percent, our goal is to take state. That came from the girls, that’s what they want,” emphasized Carlson. “They’re shooting for the stars.”
Looking at the makeup of the team, between the guard play and bigs, the athleticism pieced together with familiarity within the system and with each other, and the overall returning experience, it is easy to see why the Dinos are ready to make a title run.
“We feel like we have a really good shot and that if we come and work hard every day, every game, every practice, that we’ll be up there. That’s our goal.” Carlson added, “I feel like our identity is coming together and we’re starting to become one. I feel like the girls are working together really well and trying to be a team, like really trying to be a team. Unity and teamwork are a big focus for us and having each other’s backs, [both] on the court and off the court.”
Time will tell what this Dino team is made of, but one thing is for certain: this is a season you won’t want to miss.