Area coaches have been gearing up for the start of the girls basketball season, which is set to start on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Recent days have included long practices to get girls teams ready to square off against some of the toughest teams in the conference.
The Vikings’ Head Coach Mitch Reeves said this will be his first season as head coach, but he is very “excited” about the upcoming season. Reeves said that the team will have two returning seniors this year. The returning seniors are Alexa Moorefield and Karleigh Marshall, two volleyball standouts who helped the Vikings make it to the second round of state playoffs.
“Alexa is a really smart ball player,” Reeves said. “She knows how to find the right spot on the floor.”
“Marshall is a streaky shooter,” he said. “She can get hot at any time. They both exhibit leadership qualities.”
Reeves said that last year the varsity girls team won four games. This year Reeves hopes to coach his team to a playoff spot. “It’s too early to tell,” he began. But he hopes this year will be an “improvement” over last year.
“The girls enjoyed playing together last year,” he said. “But they weren’t happy with only four wins.”
Before the start of the season, Reeves is drilling the team to become better communicators on the court. “We have made a lot of improvement in the first week,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing for me so far. You gotta talk. You gotta communicate.”
The girls are practicing hard and are ready to start the season, Reeves said.
The Wildcats’ Head Coach James Holleman said that the team has about 13 players so far. Three of the players are returning seniors and five are returning juniors. Holleman said that the team has a lot of “potential,” and the success of the season will depend on how hard the girls are willing to work.
“For us to be good and compete in this conference, we must improve,” Holleman said.
Improvement means putting in the effort to tighten up their game on the court. Right now that means working on rebounding, free throws and turnovers.
“Right now we’re trying to emphasize taking care of the basketball,” he said.
The West Stokes girls won 16 games last season. That was the most games the girls team has ever won in a season. “We improve every year,” Holleman said.
“I think we can be successful this season,” he said. “I feel like we are going to be competitive.”
Holleman said he hopes to get in some more hours of good practice before the season starts, but he is confident that the girls will have a good season.
“Our girls are ready. Mentally and physically,” he said.
The Sauras’ Head Coach Mitch Adams said that he currently has nine players on the team. He said he wishes he had more players, but you have to work with what you have. “Right now we just don’t have a lot of depth,” he said.
Still, Adams said that he has some talent returning to the team that will hopefully help the team along this season. The Sauras have two seniors and two juniors that will be returning — all of whom have at least two years of varsity experience.
Adams believes that the seniors will help guide the team to a successful season. Senior Hannah Wood will be returning to the team this year. She was an all-conference player last year.
“She works hard and keeps us going,” Adams said. “She’s one of the hardest working players. She is a pleasure to coach.”
Senior Taylor Jones will also be returning. This will be her second year on the girls varsity team. “She’s been really good in the first few weeks of practice,” he said. “I expect big things from her this season.”
Returning Senior Shay Hamilton will play center for the Sauras this year. She has three years of varsity experience.
Another star talent returning to the team is point guard Kelli Mounce, who was the leading scorer for the Sauras last season. “She understands the game really well,” he said. “She gets the ball to the right people at the right time.”
The Sauras won eight games last season and hope to win more this time around.
Right now, before the season starts, Adams said that he is working with his team to play more defensively. That means working on taking possession of the ball and then protecting it. Adams said that defense is going to be key for the Sauras to be successful this season.
“It will be a tough season, but I think we will do well with what we got,” he said.