By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
The Ellison Lady Eagles' basketball team is in a six-year funk. They were area finalists in 2001 but have just a single winning season since: the 2001-02 team finished 19-12 and 4-6 in district 13-5A. In her second year as Ellison's head girls basketball coach, Sherry McKinnon believes the Lady Eagles are headed in the right direction.
"I think we ahead of schedule of what we were this time last year," McKinnon said. "Our goal is to reach the playoffs so we have to step up our game."
The Lady Eagles will be without last year's standout post player, Mica Williams, but she is the only piece missing from last year's squad.
But, as McKinnon relied on Williams last year, she has six seniors this season led by 5-6 guard Lisa Hicklen and 5-11 post Eloisa Seabrooks.
Hicklen, she says, will be the key to the Lady Eagles' success, but her other seniors will also have to fill important roles.
"I'm banking on their maturity level," McKinnon said. "After a year, they understand and they're really read to play basketball."
Sophomore Desiree' Wylie will fill the gaping hole left behind in Williams' absence. As a freshman, she watched Williams and at season's end she approached McKinnon and said she was ready to be as good, if not better, than Williams.
"Mica was a good leader," McKinnon said. "She worked hard and let the game come to her. It was nice that Desiree' got to see that. Desiree' is her own person and I can already see that she wants to be in that role this year."
The Lady Eagles open their season tonight in Leander at 7 p.m.
After Leander, they travel to Copperas Cove, Abilene Wylie, Waco High and Lampasas and have two on-the-road tournaments, which means the Lady Eagles won't play in front of their home crowd until Dec. 7 when the Lady Roos travel across town.
"We're on the road for the entire month of November," McKinnon said. "I think it's going to help us and get us ready for games at Bryan and A&M Consolidated. We've got a difficult non-district schedule that I think is going to help us grow up real quick."
In these first few games, McKinnon hopes to see the Lady Eagles execute the offense and really focus on their defensive efforts, specifically the blocking-out and rebounding fundamentals.
"We want to give teams only one shot," McKinnon said. "We have three teams in our district with really big, good post players. Our tallest girl is 5-11. This is good practice to see if we can handle that pressure. If we allow teams to have four or five shots under the basket, we're not going to win many games."
McKinnon said the Lady Eagles will get their first shot of playing against big post players against Leander.
"Last year we had a lot of success against Leander. Their post player was newcomer of the year, so we're going to have our hands full."
After the December showdown with Killeen High, the Lady Eagles host University on Dec. 11 and then open 13-5A in Bryan against the Lady Vikings on Friday, Dec. 14.
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.