Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Basketball Preview: Ladies court success

As basketball season begins, hopes are high for a number of area programs for the 2022-23 campaign.

The southern Denton County region saw both Argyle schools make the postseason last year in the sport of girls basketball and both are looking to pick up right where they left off this coming season.

The Lady Eagles, for instance, had one of the strongest showings of all last year, reaching the state semifinals before coming up short against Hardin-Jefferson.

Argyle defeated FW Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Stephenville, Bridgeport, Canyon and Decatur to win a Region I 4A Championship, and coach Chance Westmoreland said he is feeling good about the way that things are shaping up for 2022-23.

“We are excited about this season because we get to compete at the 5A level and have an experienced team returning,” Westmoreland said.

The Lady Eagles were 37-1 last season, including a 12-0 district mark, and Westmoreland said his squad returns seven of its top eight players from last season, along with Guyer move in Katelyn Jones and move up Kennedy Hafer.

Key returners for Argyle include Madi Lumsden, Mallory Millington and Gabby Campbell.

Across Hwy 377 at Liberty Christian, the Lady Warriors are also coming off of a strong season in 2021-22, winning a district championship and finishing with a 28-8 overall record.

Coach Ken Burroughs said he believes his team is due for another strong season.

“We should compete for a playoff spot,” Burroughs said. “We dropped to 5A, have three returning starters, two of them were all district and we have two returning lettermen.”

The Lady Warriors went 5-1 in district competition last season and made it to the regional finals.

Emma Kay Martin, Lauren Ullrich and Marisa Martin should lead the way for the Lady Warriors this year.

Over at Guyer, the 2021-22 season was a bit of a disappointment, but coach Jake Floyd said he is confident his team will rebound.

“We expect to be a good combination of experience and new faces that should be in the thick of a tough District 5-6A playoff race,” Floyd said.

Guyer went 11-21 overall last season and returns a strong core of players, including Raina Akbar, Mariah Watson, Kaylie Morgan, Amaya Langford and will add freshman Madison McGhie.

Over at Flower Mound, the Lady Jaguars finished 22-10 last season and just missed a playoff berth.

Coach Sherika Nelson’s team is anxious to get back on the court where Nelson believes Flower Mound will make its presence felt this season.

“We have had a great offseason and are looking forward to the season starting,” Nelson said. “We have great leadership with our seniors and have a good mix of being able to control the paint and knock down outside shots. Owning the boards and getting out in transition will be keys for us.”

Flower Mound went 7-7 in district competition and was fifth overall in the district standings in 2021-22.

Players to watch for the Lady Jags include Maddie Cox, Abbie Boutilier, Kaitlyn Edmondson and Maya Bujak.

Nelson said her team is preparing itself for a tough district campaign.

“District 6-6A is a grind every night,” Nelson said. “We are going to compete hard every night and give ourselves a shot at the playoffs.”

Over at Marcus, the Lady Marauders are looking to bounce back from a difficult 2021-22 season, and coach Mallory Singleton said the objective is to turn things around this year by getting her players to focus on execution rather than record.

“Our goal for this season is to be the best version of us, every game,” Singleton said. “Our focus isn’t on wins and losses or being better than last year’s record.  We are a new team this year, and our focus is on what we do and doing it well. The wins will take care of themselves.  I think we have the opportunity to surprise some people this year.”

Marcus finished 7-22 overall last season and missed the playoffs.

Players to watch for the Lady Marauders in 2022-23 include Alina Martin, Kennedi Petteway, Addison Wragge, Lauren Smith and Cassie Young.

“Things are going well,” Singleton said. “There has been a lot of change in our program, and our girls have bought in to a new way of doing things.  Their coachability and work ethic make them fun to coach.”

For Coram Deo Academy, a 10-19 season in 2021-22 has the Lady Lions looking for redemption, and this year’s program may be just the team to do it.

Coach Jacki Manack said she has a couple of factors that make her hopeful.

“With move in freshman Selah Johnson and a full returning team, we are in a much better position to compete and hoping to make a playoff run,” Manack said.

Returning starters for the Lions include Presley Thomas, Lily Patterson, Hannah Newton and Katelyn Brandes.

Over in Justin, the Northwest girls basketball team went 18-12 overall last season, but finished sixth in district competition.

Coach Lindsey Pouncy said early indications from her team are quite positive.

“Things are going well,” Pouncy said. “The girls are working extremely hard and have bought into our program culture. With a whole new coaching staff there’s a lot to learn; however, by district, I think we will be ready.”

The Lady Texans went 7-7 overall in district in 2021-22 and return starters Avery McConnell, Sydney Nicholson and Sydney Zenon.

Jadeyn Higgins should also have an impact on the court this season.

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