SLOCUM LADY MUSTANGS (N/A)
Each year under coach Don Layton, the Slocum Lady Mustangs have gone a little farther in the playoffs than the year before.
In his first season, 2010-2011, the Lady Mustangs were regional quarterfinalists. Last year, Slocum made its first regional tournament in more than five years, falling to eventual state finalist Martin’s Mill.
This season, Layton and the Lady Mustangs have the pieces in place to again make a run, led by standout guards Brice Sizemore and Valarie Larkin.
Larkin was the Dogwood Circle Offensive Player of the Year last year, after averaging 18 points per game, while Sizemore — who Layton calls a coach on the floor — averaged almost eight assists.
Slocum will have to contend with the loss of Cristina Wickersham down low, but should have the young talent to fill the hole.
SEASON OPENER: Tuesday vs. Zavalla (per Maxpreps.com)
NECHES LADY TIGERS (34-5)
For the past four years, the Neches girls’ basketball team has always been one of the last two teams playing in its respective classification.
But, earning that distinction once again in 2012-2013 has been made difficult on numerous fronts.
The first is the graduation of seniors Roddricka Patton, Kristen Green, Raven McFarland, Cheyenne Haskins and Lyric Duncan, a group that provided a large chunk of both offense and defense for Neches in the past.
The second is a move up from Class 1A, Division II to Division I, into the same region as powers like Martin’s Mill and Martinsville.
But, led by lone senior Kiandra Taylor (10 ppg, 7 spg, 4 rpg), NHS coach Andy Snider said the team still hopes to contend for a title.
While Taylor offers the only real experience in the backcourt, Neches does have front-court depth in the return of Kamry Kinder and Kelsee Wade. The Lady Tigers also have experience winning games.
SEASON OPENER: 5 p.m. Tuesday vs. Palestine
Editor’s Note: Requests for information from Elkhart were unreturned at press time
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org