By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
They've rolled out the basketball and the girls get under way in a week.
The Daily Herald highlighted the area's best five returning players, with one featured each day this week. Today, we'll give a little insight on each area team and who to watch for during the 2010-11 season.
Last season: 11-21, 2-12 in District 12-5A
Key players: Meghan Breauer (Sr.) and Torie Henderson (Jr.)
Outlook: The Lady Tigers were a junior heavy team last season, but still face an uphill climb in district play after a disappointing '09-10 campaign. Expect guard heavy Belton to rely on its 3-point shooting from Breauer to keep it in the majority of its games.
Last season: 22-12, 10-4 in District 12-5A
Key players: Jasmine Baskin (Sr.) and Traonna Shedrick (Sr.)
Outlook: Copperas Cove lost a talented senior class that saw three players move on to the college ranks, but that was same case before the 2009-10 season. The big difference is Cove welcomes first-year head coach Preston Flaniken, a former assistant under Richard Herbst, who left for San Antonio Clark. Cove returns a core of seniors, while the key could be point guard Jessica Best.
Last season: 25-9, 9-5 in District 12-5A, area finalists
Key players: Jalissa Williams (Sr.) and Alayshia Hunter (Jr.)
Outlook: The Lady Eagles made it back to the playoffs last season, but two major reasons for that are no longer there following the graduations of Ellison stalwarts Alisha Jones (PG) and Desiree Wylie (SF). If the Lady Eagles want to make it back, and possibly farther than the bi-district round, it's going to take a concerted effort from their replacements - Jasmine Washington and Jalissa Williams, respectively.
Last season: 4-24, 0-12 in 25-2A
Key players: Kasey Button (Sr.) and Reagan Isbell (Sr.)
Outlook: Florence only lost one senior off of last season's team and will be led by Drake Stanczak, who had coached the boys team at Florence two years ago, before becoming the girls assistant coach and cross country coach. The team, however, lacks size and may have trouble matching up on the inside against some of the better teams in its new District 27-2A.
Last season: 24-9, 10-0 in District 7-3A
Key players: McKamie Place (Sr.) and Glynna Johnson (Jr.)
Outlook: Gatesville is one of the strongest candidates in the area to make a playoff run, since the Hornets graduated just one senior from last season – Emily Leib. Place is a reigning district MVP and comes into the year with 1,225 career points. Gatesville welcomes first-year coach Chris Carroll, a former boys assistant who takes over for Megan Simoneau, now the Llano head coacch.
Last season: 15-18, 5-9 in District 12-5A
Key players: Shanice Davis (Jr.) and Brianna Golden (Jr.)
Outlook: The Lady Knights have improved each season under coach Shirretha Nelson, who returns eight contributors, most of all dynamic junior scorers Shanice Davis (SG) and Brianna Golden (PG). Davis averaged over 12 points per game last year en route to being named newcomer of the year while Golden was a district first-teamer in her second year running the Heights' offense.
Last season: 16-18, 7-3 in District 25-4A, area finalists
Key players: Mariah Shaw (Jr.) and Jasmine Goodwine (So.)
Outlook: After back-to-back district co-championships in 25-4A, the Lady Roos start this season in a new, but somewhat-familiar district that includes Waco, Waco Midway and Waco University. With Jasmine Baugus (Texas State) graduated, 6-foot Goodwine and 5-9 Shaw, both second-team selections last season, will play vital roles in the paint this season. Goodwine averaged 10 rebounds and eight points a game and Shaw, a third-year letterman, averaged six points and nine rebounds a game.
Last season: 11-20, 3-7 in District 25-4A
Key players: Kayla Prescott (Sr.), Hailey Morrison (Jr.)
Outlook: Lampasas went from a 0-10 district record two years ago to within a game of making the playoffs. If the Lady Badgers can build on last season's momentum, good things should follow, especially with a move down to 3A. Lampasas return an all district second-team pick in Prescott and honorable-mention selections in Morrison and Kallen Vann.
Last season: 27-10, 10-2 in District 25-2A
Key players: Hadley Joiner (Sr.) and Carling Urben (Jr.)
Outlook: In her first season, coach Jeanette McKinney led a beaten up Lady Eagles squad to the area-round of the playoffs after cruising through a weak 25-2A. This season, though, the mission gets a lot more difficult in 3A, where Salado will likely need every available body healthy and contributing. Hadley Joiner (15 ppg) will again be looked to handle the scoring while fellow senior Brennan Boydstun could be the linchpin, after missing the second half of district play after tearing her ACL.
Last season: 7-23, 0-14 in District 12-5A
Key players: Kiara Rawls (Jr.) and Hailee Showers (So.)
Outlook: Senior Jasmine Dills' knee injury was just the start of a disappointing season last year, but with seven returners, many of whom are still underclassmen, consider last season a jumping off point for the Lady Grey Wolves. Rawls averaged more than 15 points a game in district and was Shoemaker's lone first-team selection and will get help from sophomores Showers, Cion Hicks and Terra Roberson who were all honorable mentions last season.
Alex Byington, Kevin Posival and Nick Talbot contributed to this report.