For the third time in four seasons, Murray's girls have a new basketball coach.

This time, though, the Lady Tigers kept it in the family.

Tom Foust was named his brother Wyatt's replacement, when the latter took the same position at Louisville Butler.

The Lady Tigers, who won 28 games -- going undefeated in 18 First Region games, including the championship game against Marshall County -- graduated two seniors, Lizzy Curtis and Parker Greer (Murray State, soccer), after losing to Ryle in the first round of the KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena.

Still, though, Murray has a solid group returning, with seniors Calli Carver and Jamera Jones, as well as juniors Angela Gierhart and Makenzie Turley -- the younger sister of five-time All-Purchase player and Murray State guard Macey Turley.

"I was a little leery going into it, not knowing who our five starters were going to be," Foust said. "The last few years, we knew who we were going to have. Early on, Jamera wasn't going to play. She was going to focus on another sport (volleyball). Then, she joined back, so that kind of shored up that spot (forward). Up until recently, the fifth spot has just been really up in the air. I think, honestly, that was the best thing for us, because it kind of created a competition. That elevated the game of a lot of kids. It made it a little more difficult for me, but in a good way."

Thankfully for Foust, there's not much of a transition, since he was his brother's No. 2 for both seasons after taking over for Rechelle Turner, who left to become the women's basketball coach at Murray State -- where former Lady Tigers Lex Mayes, Macey Turley and Alexis Burpo now play, having started their second season a few weeks ago.

Where those three led before, and Curtis and Greer followed, Carver and Makenzie Turley have picked up the mantle of leadership for this year's team.

"I'm a lucky coach in my first year, for sure," Foust said. "You can't force a kid into that position. Your best player won't always be your leader. I was kind of waiting to see who would step up. So far, Calli, being a senior, any time something has come up that's needed taken care of with the team, without having to be asked, she's jumped all over it. We call her 'Mama Calli.' She's making sure kids know when they're supposed to be where.

"Makenzie Turley, she's a junior, she followed in Macey's footsteps of being that silent, you-know-what-you're-going-to-get kid. She knows every spot in every set that we have. She's (a guard) helping our post players, some days, remember stuff. We've got a good mix, there."

Murray opens on the road on Dec. 2 when it takes on Mayfield.

Lady Marshals return four varsity players from '18-19, still ready to make run

If there's a window for Marshall County to win a First Region title, it's certainly open this year.

After finishing as the runner-up a season ago, there's been some matriculation -- graduation, injury or leaving basketball -- going into the year, leaving the Lady Marshals with six fewer players than were on the roster in 2018-19.

But, those four with varsity experience who stayed -- forwards Halle Langhi and Presley Jezik and guards Cayson Conner and Layne Pea -- have their team in position to make a run at the First Region.

"It will be a work in progress throughout the year," Lady Marshals second-year coach Dan Langhi said. "We have no seniors and return four players with varsity experience. It will be a puzzle trying to fit the pieces together. Some players will have to grow up quick and learn on the fly, but it will also make for good competition in practice competing for playing time.

"It will be interesting how quickly our team develops an identity and how quickly they learn one another's tendencies and gets on the same page. We play a grueling schedule that I would consider more difficult than last year's, against some very tough competition against teams from several different states."

The Lady Marshals open at home on Dec. 3 against Goreville (Illinois).

Settle, Carson set to lead Lady Lakers

Charlee Settle has been one of the most-publicized girls basketball players in the First Region the last two years.

With several Division I offers to her credit, the Calloway County senior forward signed with Murray State before the season started.

While the top player for the Lady Lakers, Settle is far from the only one on the roster who is poised for a big year.

Junior guard Elle Carson, who during the postseason two years ago showed part of what she's capable of, as well as sophomore Adison Hicks -- who earned significant playing time as a freshman last year -- are two more players Calloway coach Valerie Waller said should turn heads this year.

It should help, tremendously, with the Lady Lakers missing senior forward Ellie Jackson for the season with an ACL injury.

"I'm excited about this year," Waller said. "There are some unknown pieces, there, for us, that we're going to have to figure out and put together as the season goes on. We'll have a lot of young kids on the floor this year, so I'm excited to see how that goes.

"Charlee is going to get triple-teamed every time she touches the basketball. I do feel like we've got some young kids who can shoot the basketball pretty well from the outside. They're going to have some opportunities. Adison got a lot of opportunities last year as a freshman. I expect a lot of things from her as a sophomore. Elle Carson is going to have to learn how to handle that pressure a little bit more. We lost Bri (Brianna Emery) and Keeli (Puckett), who helped her quite a bit last year being seniors. It's going to be a little bit harder of a role for her this year than it was last year."

The Lady Lakers open on Dec. 6 with a trip to Bowling Green to play Warren East.

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