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Weapons everywhere for Hodges’ BHS girls

The 2007-08 Bearden Lady Bulldogs basketball team looks to improve on its 23-10 record from a year ago and become one of the top teams in District 4-AAA.

Despite the departure of standout guard Alyssia Bailey (Walters State), the Lady Bulldogs return a solid group of players along with some new faces.

“We have a good returning core but we also have some new people that we are trying to mesh together quickly,” Bearden head coach Nathan Hodges said.

Seniors Sarah Canter and Jenna Maynard, and juniors Rikki Sanders and 6-foot-1 post Mary Hirst are returning starters.

Junior transfer Joy McCuen looks to play a backcourt leadership role while senior transfer Dena Riner has already asserted herself as a leader.

McCuen comes from a Collins Hill (Ga.) program ranked No. 1 in USA TODAY’s Super 25 final girls rankings last year. Collins Hill went 31-0 last year and Hodges hopes that McCuen’s past success can translate into success for this year’s Lady Bulldogs team.

“... She was a sophomore on that team, kind of a role player, but she does know what it takes to be on a championship team,” Hodges said.

“Our senior group, even Dena, who is a new senior, has done a good job trying to take our team to the next level as far as the attitude about basketball,” Hodges added. “Lady Dogs basketball around here is a lot more serious than it has been in the past and I attribute that to our seniors. ...”

Scoring in numbers is going to be the key for this year’s team.

“We don’t have to depend on one or two people to score,” Hodges said. “It seems like everybody can score for us and it’s just a matter of improving our team chemistry to the point where we are getting a good shot every time.”

The BHS coach said Ellen Smith, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, has filled in effectively for Hirst in two games while the junior recovers from an injury.

Other Lady Bulldogs looking to contribute include seniors Stephanie McCray (forward) and Angel Fine (guard), and sophomore guards Shayla McDaniel and Taylor Cravanas.

As for weaknesses, Bearden must improve its half court defense according to Hodges.


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