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Hodges: juniors must complement BHS girls duo

There’s the stellar senior post and the sharpshooting, reliable senior shooting guard.

But Nathan Hodges said it’s Bearden’s junior class that holds the key to Lady Bulldogs varsity hoop success in 2008-09.

“We’re looking for some of those juniors to step up and kinda fill key roles for the rest of the group,” said coach Hodges, beginning his fourth year as BHS skipper. “We just really need people out of that class to step up and be good roll players this year.”

Mary Hirst, 6-foot-1 senior All-District 4-AAA post averaging about 14 points per game last season, and Rikki Sanders, senior shooting guard averaging about 10 points per game last year, have been starting since they were freshmen. “Those two players will have to carry us early,” Hodges said.

As for Hirst, a power forward, “Her athleticism is so valuable,” Hodges said. “She’s one of the fastest players on the team. … so versatile … also faces up and comess off screens and just scores in space ... really good hands.”

Sanders and Hirst “compliment each other really well” thanks to Sanders’ perimeter shooting, Hodges said. “Rikki has become well-rounded with her game off the dribble and being able to get to the basket. … A big-time threat from the three.”

Ellen Smith, 6-foot-2 junior post, saw ample playing time last season as a reserve post and should be starting center. “We’ll need her to step up and take some pressure off of Mary,” Hodges said.

Junior Taylor Cravanas, a part-time starting point last season, is a player “we can lean on,” Hodges said. Cravanas and senior Joy McCuen are battling for the starting nod. “They’ll both play a lot.”

Junior Shayla McDaniel is a key at small forward. “She’ll look to step up and score some for us, and she’s also a good defender.”

The BHS head coach said the team can play both up-tempo and half-court offense. But overall defense is a concern.

Other team members looking to contribute are junior guards Morgan Thomas, Brooke Snyder, Leslie Sayers and Kassie Shreve, and junior forward Michelle Heath; sophomore guards Mallory Uekman and Mary McAlexander, and freshman point Jai-Jai McLaughlin.


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