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The 2011 basketball season officially gets under way this afternoon for area teams.
The Lady Eagles of Hebron Christian School tip-off the new season under first year head coach William Cotton this afternoon when they take on the winner of North Sunflower Academy and Starkville Christian at 3 pm at the Winona Preseason tournament which started Monday.
Should Hebron advance, they would take on Delta Academy, a team they have been become all to familiar with.
The last time these two teams met was in the MAIS playoffs and it was Delta who ended Hebronâ€™s season, with a 48-39 victory before going on to win the Single A title.
The squads met this summer during basketball camps, each team earning a scrimmage victory. After what he has seen, Cotton has feeling the Lady Eagles can pull out a victory.
â€śWe beat them that last game,â€ť Cotton said. â€śSo our girls left that camp I think feeling that we can get job done. They are not unbeatable like people think they are.â€ť
Delta is just the first real test of the number of quality opponents the Lady Eagles will be matched up against in the first few weeks of the campaign.
The following week they will travel to Columbus and face-off with a pair of AAA powers in Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy, who feature highly touted Rachel Hollivay, a 6-foot-4 center who is ranked as high as No. 8 in the Class of 2012 by ESPN HoopGurl and has been heavily recruited by several schools including Tennessee and Mississippi State.
Washington School comes a week later, also in MAIS AAA.
â€śWere going to find out right off the bat how we stack up to that level of play,â€ť said Cotton.
Hebron will need solid play from several key players this season including 6â€™3 Tori Nichols, who returns for her senior campaign and has a reputation for cleaning the boards with the best of the them.
Sabrina Oswalt has the ability to control the pace of the game at point guard. Sheâ€™s not a super scorer, but sheâ€™ll knock down her fair share of points to get a win.
Beverly Blake and Chloe Tapley will take charge as snipers from the outside and Ruth Foster occupies the other guard slot, using her speed to take the transition game down the court.
Although rebounding is said to be the teamsâ€™ greatest strength Cotton believes, they also have been working on getting much faster, not only in the weight room but at practice, running everything at full speed.
â€śWe stress to be quick on your feet and put a lot of pressure on the ball,â€ť he said. â€śWe have speed,â€ť he said. â€śIt may not be super speed, but itâ€™s there.â€ť
Cotton isnâ€™t just looking for success this season, he has a few seventh and eighth graders and freshman who have already shown they have chance to be really good ball players once they hit the high school ranks.
â€śI see a pretty strong future in girls basketball at Hebron,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s going to take a little time to develop it, but I have a good group to start out with this year.â€ťView more articles in: