TSB takes a look at the three MISD varsity girls basketball programs as the season begins this week.
McKinney High School
Despite finishing the 2012-’13 season 14-15-1 (4-6 in District 10-5A), the McKinney High girls basketball team senses there will be a different tone this season.
“We’ve got a target on our back,” MHS girls basketball coach Debbie Harris said.
Harris, who will be entering her ninth season as the Lionettes’ head coach, said McKinney has gone from being “the hunter, to the hunted.” That’s because McKinney High returns its core group from a year ago, along with seven seniors, to the 2013 team.
While not all returning seniors have playing experience, MHS will play “very similar” to last year’s team, according to Harris, though she hopes her girls play quicker and smarter.
MHS has a frontcourt that can rival anyone in 10-5A, led by senior power forward Mariah Mitchell and Jazsmin Nelson.
Harris said Nelson and Mitchell are expected to “play more minutes than anybody else.”
Mitchell will be expected to play 30-to-32 minutes per-game, according to her coach, who noted that her talents and smarts on the court help her teammates.
She said Mitchell is an unselfish player, knowing when to dish the ball to her teammates when the defenses converge on her. Mitchell, a Division I recruit, has announced that she’ll play for the University of Arkansas next season.
Senior shooting guard Mika Stutts is one best shooters in the district, Harris said, making key buckets when the team needs them.
Harris said MHS will have to be balanced to compete with teams like district rivals Allen and Boyd, who present mismatches in both size and depth.
MHS will take the court for its season opener Tuesday, Nov. 5, with a trip to Frisco Liberty. The Lionettes will have their home opener Nov. 8 against Kileen Shoemaker.
A season after McKinney North dominated 13-4A, capturing the district title with a perfect 14-0 record, North head coach Michael Oldham said this year’s goal is to build upon last year’s success.
Oldham said the goal of making the postseason and winning the 13-4A title remains the same, but hopes this year’s playoff run “ends at state.”
Oldham, who is entering his third season as North’s head coach, said he likes his team to utilize a full-court man-to-man to defense and run when they can to gain a numbers advantage.
But those plans are subject to change.
“In the end I’ll play whatever defense helps me win,” Oldham said.
Offensively, Oldham said, he likes to run ball screens because he feels high school players have problems recognizing the ball screen and defending it.
The Lady Bulldogs (30-4, 14-0) will return four starters from last year’s district-winning team, losing just three seniors.
Oldham said he plans to rely on senior Mikaehla Connor and freshman Alex Coleman, as well as a transfer from Denver, Colo., to play big minutes and contribute in 2013.
North’s season starts off with a bang, when the Lady Bulldogs travel to take on the No. 7-ranked 4A team in Texas, Mesquite Horn, on Tuesday.
The Lady Bulldogs will have their home opener Friday, Nov. 8 against Irving McArthur at 6:30 p.m.
Heading into her second season as head coach of the McKinney Boyd girls basketball team, Rochelle Vaughn said the Lady Broncos will hit the floor with a different mentality.
Boyd finished the 2012-’13 season with a 10-20 overall record and 2-8 in 10-5A, but Vaughn said her squad will be quicker, and play a faster pace this season.
She added she wants to see her defense be more aggressive, creating points from the defensive end of the court.
And the Lady Broncos may need to play at a quicker pace this season with Vaughn saying Boyd will be smaller than last year, having graduated its leading rebounder.
“The girls are buying in and putting in the work,” Vaughn said.
For Boyd to compete in 2013, Vaughn said they will need strong, productive minutes from her captain, senior guard Haley Carruthers, once she returns from an injury.
Junior forward Jordan Brightwell has the potential to average a double-double, Vaughn added, and and two freshmen – Alex Crain and Carlie Kaufman – are expected to play big roles.
Defensively, Vaughn said, Boyd will have to compensate for its lack of size with quickness and smarts, saying she has been stressing to the girls to be “in the right defensive position.”
On the other side of the ball, Vaughn said Boyd will have to be unselfish when attacking the basket, moving players all over the court, distributing the ball to create points.
The Lady Broncos open the season Tuesday with a trip to Sherman, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Boyd will have its home opener Nov. 12 against Frisco Liberty at 6:30 p.m.