Jenny Bowden believes she will soon learn a lot about her team.
With the District 8-3A schedule set to begin next week, Lampasas’ head coach knows the importance of hitting an upward trend during the final stretch of nondistrict play.
“Two years ago, we didn’t have a very good tournament, and then that came back to bite us,” she said.
The Lady Badgers typically play a holiday tournament prior to the new year bringing district competition, and Bowden is able to draw direct correlations between performance there and in district play.
“We weren’t ready for (former district foe) Salado, and that was the game that kept us out of being able to even have a chance to be in the playoffs,” Bowden said of last year’s tournament.
It was a stinging loss for the Lady Badgers, who went 13-17 overall in Bowden’s debut season, but fell just shy of forcing a playoff play-in game with a 5-5 district record. It was the closest Lampasas has been to the postseason, and the closest it has been since.
The Lady Badgers went 7-23 last season, producing a 3-7 District 8-3A record after going 2-2 at the Lady Badger Holiday Tournament to finish third.
This season, Bowden is expecting more, and she will not feel com-
fortable about her team unless it delivers.
“We really need to be ready to play in our tournament,” she said. “We have to have a really good tournament.”
Lampasas’ two-day home tournament begins today with a dozen games played among the 12-team field, including Class 1A No. 6 Mason and Class 3A No. 11 Lorena.
The Lady Badgers already eclipsed last season’s record, winning eight of their first 14 games this season behind a balanced offensive attack.
Lampasas is coming off a 43-32 victory against Australian traveling team Blackburn last week. Led by sophomore guard Nola Bishop’s team-high nine points, six players finished with at least four points in the win.
“It was a good win to go into the Christmas break,” Bowden said. “We were able to see a lot of things we needed to work on, both offensively and defensively, but it was a good win.”
The players had a five-day break in accordance with UIL regulations, but Bowden intends to see her team playing at its peak potential this weekend, beginning with the Lady Badgers’ tournament opener against Fredericksburg at 1:30 p.m. today. Lampasas returns to the court at 5 p.m. against Godley.
Teams are broken into brackets based on pool-play records and will conclude the tournament with two games Saturday.
While the competition will be challenging, Bowden wants to see her team rise to the occasion.
“It’s tough,” she said of the field. “We’ve got some good teams coming, but all I ask of the girls is to get better every single day.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com