By Rickey Clardy
The Community Viqueens enjoyed tremendous success in the 2022-23 basketball season that culminated with a trip to the TSSAA Class 2A state tournament.
The Viqueens won their opening game in the tournament and finished in the top 4 of the state in 2A.
While the Viqueens and their fans enjoyed the fruits of last season, Coach Cody Pierce is faced with the task of replacing six seniors off last season’s squad.
“We lost six seniors that played a huge part of the team,” Pierce said. “They’ve done a good job to lead the young ones behind them on how we do things here.”
“I feel like we’ll be right where we left off soon,” Pierce added.
With their state tournament seniors leaving, the fact that the Viqueens will be young is an understatement.
Of the 14 players on the 2023-24 team, nine players are freshmen while three players are sophomores and two are juniors.
“We only return one, Anna Haskins, that played a lot,” Pierce said. “Jayla (Mangrum) had a little bit of playing time so she has some experience.”
“So pretty much this is a new team,” Pierce added. “But they work hard like they’re supposed to and they’re willing to work together and do something big this year.”
The Viqueens had a chance in the offseason and with the first two weeks of practice to gel as a team.
“I felt like we got better over the summer,” Pierce said. “Still had a lot of stuff to fix obviously, but I feel like we’ve improved these two weeks of practice.”
“They’re learning the system and we’re working hard every day,” Pierce added.
Despite most of their roster featuring underclassmen, the Viqueens are not looking for their youth to be an excuse during the upcoming season.
“I told them don’t let being young be an excuse. We’re not allowed to say we’re young this year,” Pierce said. “They’re basketball players and I don’t care what grade they are.”
“They can get the job done if they want to,” Pierce added. “They’re up for it. They want to do something big. They just don’t want to be the team that follows up a state tournament team and be just that young team.”
“They want to win the district, too.”
For the next two seasons, the Viqueens move from District 7AA to 9AA.
Forrest, Cascade, and Grundy County will make the move to District 9AA while Cannon County also joins the 5-team district.
“We’re familiar with all the teams and we played Cannon County last year,” Pierce said. “We have a good idea of what we’re up against every night, so it should be a fun year.”
The region will be completely different as Lewis County, Loretto, Summertown and Mount Pleasant make up District 10-AA as the Viqueen postseason now moves to the west.
“They will be tough teams that have good programs,” Pierce said. “No matter what year it is, it’s going to be a challenge to beat them.”
Community will start on the road with games at Fayetteville and Harpeth to start its Hall of Champions slate.
The Viqueens will face familiar foes in Huntland, Eagleville, and Central Magnet during their non-district slate before starting district play in January.