The Gatesville Lady Hornets have had to play through injuries and have struggled at times with playing a lot of young players, but all that means nothing starting Friday.
“We feel pretty good about where we’re at right now,” Gatesville coach Chris Carroll said.
Gatesville opens District 8-3A play Friday night when the Lady Hornets visit the Lampasas Lady Badgers.
Both Gatesville and Lampasas look to get back into the UIL Class 3A playoffs after falling short of the postseason last year.
This year the UIL added a fourth playoff team from each district, but it won’t be easy as both teams have to face Brownwood, the 22nd-ranked team in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A poll, and Liberty Hill, the 25th-ranked team in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
“If you can go .500 in the district, you can get in,” Carroll said. “The bad thing is our district is so tough at the top with Liberty Hill, Burnet and Brownwood.”
The district season will also mean the return of senior guard Sarah Latham to the Gatesville lineup.
Latham has not played this season due to an ACL injury and the Lady Hornets have gone with three freshmen guards in her place.
“She hasn’t played a game yet, but just in practice over the break, it’s been noticeable,” Carroll said. “Her leadership and just her presence on the floor has been big for us because we’ve struggled handling the ball, taking care of the ball and making decisions.”
For Lampasas coach Jenny Bowden, a 2000 Lampasas graduate, getting back to the postseason would complete a round trip in a way. The third-year coach looks to help the Lady Badgers make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Lady Badgers will have an inexperienced bunch as Sierra Rash, their lone senior, will be sidelined with an injury until late January, if she comes back at all.
Five of Lampasas’ remaining nine players on the varsity roster are juniors.