New coach leading Lady Indians into 2023-24 basketball season

by Todd Brooks

New Comanche girls coach Braydon Robinson will have a mixture of youth and experience when his team takes to the floor this week.

He will have to replace three regular starters from last year’s squad in Gracee Miller, Breelie Garlinger and Kynli Morris. Miller was the leading scorer and Garlinger and Morris handled post duties.

But, the well has not run dry. Comanche does have three players returning who started at least part of the season, which the Lady Indians will be counting on in seniors Kylie Roden, Kamrey Rendon, Jentry Whaley and Karsynn Bowles.

“It’s going good,” Robinson said. “Our numbers are small, but we had some come back out this year that hadn’t played in a few years. And, it’s been a joy to have them back. So we’ve got small numbers, but we’re getting a lot out of practice.”

Robinson made a big move from the Oklahoma panhandle to Comanche, which he says will be a new experience.

“Whenever I look at our schedule, there’s only one team on our schedule that I’ve ever seen before and that would be the first game we play (Amber-Pocasset). So everybody’s new for me, so I’ve got a lot of homework this year.”

As far as his coaching philosophy for the year, he plans to utilize both zone and man-to-man defenses.

“When I was a head coach for six years, I was a big zone coach,” Robinson said. “I had an opportunity to work under, in my opinion, a really, really good man coach the last two years, so I’ve stole a lot of man concepts from him. Right now with our numbers and the kind of personnel we have, we’ll be more zone than man, but in the future I’m hoping we can shift more to man.”

Robinson said he expects the leadership from the team to come from Roden and Rendon.

“We’re going to go as they go,” Robinson said. “They bring great leadership. First of all, they’re dependable. They are always here. It’s ‘Yes, sir, no sir,’ but the other part of that is they are going to be our better scorers this year. They’re going to bring a lot of offense for us.”

Roden played in 15 games last season and missed most of the second half due to injury. She is the top returning scorer averaging 7.9 points per game last season. Rendon averaged 6.6 points per game.

The coach see his team in action with some scrimmages against Walters, Chattanooga, Ryan and at Jones.

“Ryan and Chattanooga are going to be some pretty good Class B schools and then when we went to Jones, it was a different situation. There were some state tournament teams there and we got some eye-opening experiences, but I mean that’s the deal. We’ll take our licks now. It’s all about seeing the future. Hopefully by March we’ll be ready to play with those teams.”

Rendon and Roden mostly play guard, so Robinson will turn to freshman Drai Sparks to be a presence in the post. He also expects Whaley to play both inside and outside along with Bre Gill and then there will be traditional post players such as Maicee Combs, Jillian Hushbeck and Ema Parks.

The coach is excited to get the season started.

“I look at our schedule and it’s a pretty difficult schedule, so I think we may take some licks early with me being a new coach,” Robinson said. “We didn’t get a summer with the girls and I think we’re kind of learning on the fly. But I really think if we stick with it and stay together, I think about the middle of January things will start to click for us.”