• October 31, 2014

GIRLS BASKETBALL Ellison eager to defend title as 8-5A play begins tonight

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Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Thu Aug 21, 2014.

Even though a new year is still a few weeks away, a new year is about to become a reality on the basketball court. 

Tonight marks the beginning of a whole new season as area girls basketball teams begin District 8-5A play

“Everybody’s back at 0-0 going into district,” Ellison coach Sherry McKinnon said. “District is what makes or breaks your team as far as making the playoffs, winning championships and things like that.”

Killeen hosts Copperas Cove, Shoemaker hosts Temple, Harker Heights visits Belton and defending district champion Ellison travels to Waco to play Midway.

Ellison looks to repeat

The Lady Eagles finished with a 13-1 mark last season in district play to win the outright district title and advanced to the area playoffs.

McKinnon said this year the Lady Eagles have a target on their back as the defending district champion, but the girls are up for the challenge.

“It takes a lot of work to get on top and to win, especially in our district,” McKinnon said. “But it takes a lot more work to stay on top.”

The coach added that since the team is still coming together, the first few district games gives them a chance to develop more chemistry.

Without a 6-footer on the roster, crashing the boards to get rebounds will be a big key if the Lady Eagles are to repeat.

“Without having a big player, we’re going to have to crash the boards offensively and defensively,” McKinnon said. “I feel that our district’s up for grabs and we have to be prepared in our game plan for every ball game.”

The Lady Eagles are led by experienced point guard Francesca Patrick and forward Jordanna Porter.

McAdams’ first district season at Cove

The Lady Dawgs look to make the first year under new head coach Eldridge McAdams a successful one.

Last season Cove went 11-3 in district before a heartbreaking 69-68 loss to Cedar Hill in the bi-district playoffs.

Guards Brittany Gamble and Mikayla Blount will lead the Cove backcourt while post Bryaunea Hall looks to be the dominance force in the paint.

“We can’t have one person scoring in double figures,” McAdams said. “I think what’s going to make us successful is when have three or four girls scoring in double figures.”

McAdams said the leadership provided by all three has been key during the transition to his style as the new coach.

Lady Roos look for postseason return

The Lady Roos look for a return postseason trip this season after finishing fourth with an 8-6 district mark and making the playoffs by a comfortable four-game margin.

“We’re not perfect by any means, but I think the girls are ready,” Killeen coach Latisha Williams said. “They’re working hard every single game and as time goes on, I think we’ll execute better. I think they’re ready.”

Williams said she felt Killeen was at an advantage since the New Braunfels Tournament that the team played in over the weekend was not cancelled so the team was able to get a few more games in before district play, especially for some younger players.

“We’re very talented, we just lack consistency,” Williams said. “I think that that’s going to come with time the more that we play. I expect to compete with everybody.”

Shoemaker has momentum from win

The Lady Grey Wolves may only have two wins in 10 games this season, but last week’s home win over Bryan was a big one for coach Lori Shead.

“We can build on the momentum from the win and have some rest to get everybody healthy and hopefully, 100 percent,” Shead said. “I think riding that momentum is going to be phenomenal for us.”

Shoemaker finished with a 4-10 mark and tied for fifth in district a year ago.

Shead said that Shoemaker’s most complete effort of the season came in a 59-40 loss to No. 13 Irving MacArthur.

In that contest, Ashley Lemons and Daysha Roberts combined for 23 points, but Shead said she saw some good things from the performance against a powerhouse from the Metroplex.

“We were able to do some good things against them, even play them to within three at one point of the game,” Shead said. “It created an opportunity for us to be able to play in an environment that is kind of unknown.”

Young Lady Knights coming of age

Harker Heights also looks for a breakout season after a struggling to a 3-11 district mark last year.

“This year I feel like we have a real solid chance to be successful in district,” Heights coach Shirretha Nelson said.

The Lady Knights entered the 2012-13 season with high hopes with current Louisiana Tech guard LaQuan Jackson and New Mexico State forward Brianna Freeman leading the team, but injuries to both players forced them to miss a good portion of the season.

Nelson said some of the younger players that got more playing time as a result will take their game to the next level during district play this season.

“They moved up and played varsity probably a year sooner than they should have,” Nelson said.

The Lady Knights are led by senior Angela DeLaney and junior Alexus Dukes who helped the Lady Knights to a 57-47 win over God’s Academy in the last nondistrict game.

Other contenders

Belton also looks for a better showing after finishing eighth out of eight teams last year.

Temple figures to be a challenger for the district title and a high playoff spot after losing just two district games last season and finishing one game behind Ellison.

Waco Midway is looking to get over the hump after finishing one spot behind Killeen last year with a 4-10 district mark.

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