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Basketball Preview: Girls gunning for greatness

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Lauren Cox, the top-ranked high school basketball recruit in the nation, has big expectations for her senior year at Flower Mound High School.
Lauren Cox, the top-ranked high school basketball recruit in the nation, has big expectations for her senior year at Flower Mound High School. (Photo by Joe Lorenzini)

With the showings most of the region’s girls team put forth last year, there is much to be optimistic about heading into the 2015-2016 campaign.

It was a banner year for the Argyle girls basketball team last season, as the Lady Eagles brought home a state championship, after finishing 32-5 on the season.

Argyle returns six lettermen and three starters from last year’s team, including leading scorer Vivian Gray, Madison Ralston, and Olivia Gray. Other notables are post Jocelyn Pierce, guard Gabby Standifer, guard Brittany Hamilton, guard Kaylie King, guard Kayla Haynes, post Sophie Betzhold, and guard Mira Lillard.

Coach Skip Townsend is optimistic about his teams’ chances again this season, but said it will be some hard sledding along the way.

“The Lady Eagles look to defend their 2015 district championship and make another strong, lengthy run in the playoffs,” Townsend said. “They will see competition from one of the toughest districts in the state from top to bottom.”

Expect for Sanger, Celina, Gainesville and Krum to be among the tougher opponents the Lady Eagles will face this season.

In order to have a good showing, Townsend said Argyle “will count on tough defense and a ball control offense to get the job done in 2016.”

Down the road at Liberty Christian School, the Lady Warriors would not be outdone, winning a TAPPS State Championship with a 45-38 victory over Plano Prestonwood Christian.

Liberty Christian will return Rebekah and Hannah Hand, who combined for more than 30 points a game last season, along with Kendall Ellig and Sydney Goodson, both first-team all-district selections last season; second-team selection Tatum Barber and honorable mentions Emily Earley and Addisyn Goodson.

Liberty Christian went undefeated in district competition last season, and while it should face some competition from Prestonwood again this season, look for the Lady Warriors to claim a district title again in 2016.

Up the road at Guyer High School, the Lady Wildcats should be excited after earning a playoff spot last season and finishing second in 5-6A competition.

The junior tandem of Lauren Heard and Bre Wickware, both first team all-district selections in 2015, return from last year’s program to lead the way for Guyer.

Look for Keller, Justin Northwest and Fossil Ridge to be Guyer’s more difficult opponents this season.

Over in Flower Mound, the Lady Jaguars are coming off of an extremely strong year, in which they finished 28-9 and advanced to the state semifinals.

Coach Sherika Nelson said that she is feeling good about her team’s chances of making another good run into the postseason.

“We are working hard between the lines to prepare for the season,” Nelson said. “We are focusing on the defensive end of the court and building a strong foundation to run the ball. We are excited about the upcoming year and all the tough challenges it will bring.”

Flower Mound returns Lauren Cox (Baylor), a 6′ 4” post who averaged 22 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks per game last season.

Look for Makenzie Grill, Marin Mills, Hannah Aucoin and Melissa Johnstone to also play important roles for the Lady Jags this season.

In order to repeat on the type of success it enjoyed last season, Nelson said it will take a couple of things from her players.

“We will have to control the boards, take advantage of our height and play smart basketball,” Nelson said. “We will need our defense to create our offense and take care of the basketball.”

For Marcus High School, the Lady Marauders are looking to rebound this season after missing the playoffs last year.

Marcus finished 5-11 in district competition last season, but did win its final three regular season games to finish out the year on a high note.

For Marcus High School, the Lady Marauders are looking to rebound this season after missing the playoffs last year.

Marcus finished 5-11 in district competition last season, but did win its final three regular season games to finish out the year on a high note.

New head basketball coach Jordan Davis came from Celina and won a championship at Baylor in 2005.

The Lady Marauders should be led by guards Madison Mzyk and Kyndal McKnight, who combined for 19 points in their season opener against Colleyville Heritage.

Flower Mound, Plano West and Plano should present the biggest challenge to the Lady Marauders this season.

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