Even though some local girls’ athletic programs are still playing volleyball, girls’ basketball season kicks off today in the Dogwood Circle.
Last season, the Neches Lady Tigers cut down the nets once again, but will have to replace five seniors, including all-everything Roddricka Patton.
Slocum advanced to the regional tournament, and returns a host of players in 2012, while Frankston, Cayuga and Grapeland will all also being hoping for a return to the postseason.
Palestine, Westwood and Elkhart will be hoping to return to the postseason after missing the playoffs last season.
Below is a preview of local girls’ basketball teams heading into this season. Last season’s record is in parentheses, where available.
PALESTINE LADYCATS (11-17)
The Palestine Ladycats missed the playoffs in 2011-2012, a year after sharing the district title in coach Joseph Baker’s first season on the bench.
But, Palestine returns loads of experience from last year’s squad, led by two-time district Defensive Player of the Year Dana Whitehead. Whitehead averaged 19 points, six rebounds and five steals per game last season.
Also returning is point guard Paradyse Page (14 ppg, 5 spg).
Baker said he was encouraged by the team’s depth at the post position, and expects his defense to create offense with fast-break opportunities.
However, the Ladycats are thin in the backcourt, which could cause problems late in the season.
SEASON OPENER: 10 a.m. today, at Elkhart
WESTWOOD LADY PANTHERS (6-20)
The Westwood girls’ basketball team has one thing going for it that Westwood teams of the past haven’t quite had: Experience.
WHS coach Brandi McEnturff said she expects one of her team’s major strengths to be maturity, and it’s easy to see why she feels that way.
The Panthers return four seniors and three juniors from last year’s team, including Marialle Boles inside and Natali Muniz and Emily Vinson on the wings.
McEnturff will count on that experience as the Lady Panthers try and make a playoff push in their new Class 2A home.
SEASON OPENER: 5 p.m. Tuesday, vs. Tyler Lee