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Girls basketball: Lewisville hopeful a healthy team makes the difference
In 2012, Lewisvillle's girls basketball team entered the season with lofty expectations only to be decimated by injuries throughout, resulting in the Farmers breaking a run of 6-of-7 years in the postseason.
This year the Farmers are already dealing with injuries again, but head coach Charlotte Jones is confident Lewisville will be healthy near the start of district and continue to make progress in the interim.
The key to Lewisville's success could be the health of Jada Butts, a first team all-district selection last year. The recent TCU signee injured her knee early in district last season and missed the rest of the campaign - just weeks after her sister Aubree suffered the same fate - and saw her first game action on the court Thursday in the Allen Lady Eagles Hoopfest.
"[Jada] looked great," Jones said. "She wasn't hesitant at all and didn't miss a beat. It was like the injury never happened."
Also dealing with injuries at the moment are returning varsity players Monisha Neal (second team all-district) and Anita Udabor. Both are expected to return in December.
"We've been doing pretty well considering we've lost a few players already," Jones said.
Forward Elena Bailey and guard Elizabeth Simon provide the Farmers with even more experience.
Newcomers to the squad include guard Nikeia Scott, forward Ashley Campbell, post Mariah Flores, post Naomi Hawkins and post Precious Agu.
"We have a little more size than we've had in the past," Jones said. "Naomi is just a freshman but has been starting in the post and Mariah has been doing a very good job of rebounding for us. And Precious is up from JV and she is a 6-foot-3 senior who has been playing well."
Also at forward, Campbell not only contributes in the post but can step out and knock down the jumper, while Bailey brings more versatility.
"With more size, we're not quite as fast as we've been in the past," Jones said. "We're still going to try to run and push the tempo, but we can also slow it down and play in the half court setting. And our posts have the ability to make jumpers."
At guard, Scott has stepped up her performance with the early absences of Butts and Neal, and Campbell has seen time in the backcourt.
Lewisville's positional balance has also helped defensively.
"I've been impressed with our ability to change defenses," Jones said. "Whether it's man or zone, we've been able to flip and flop between defenses. We have a lot of different combinations of what we can do depending on who is on the court.
"I like the deep bench we have and the seniors on the team are doing a great job of bringing the younger ones along. We're a lot further along than maybe even I thought we would be at this time."
While Lewisville is progressing, the Farmers still have issues they are looking to nail down before district play rolls along.
"We're still working on our execution and being more patient," Jones said. "A lot of the girls have gotten so used to speeding the game up and getting quick shots that we really have to work on taking good shots when the game slows down. The execution needs to get better throughout."
With a healthy roster intact, the Farmers are hopeful they can make a return to the postseason. To do so, Lewisville will have to finish in the top four of a six-team District 5-5A that includes Flower Mound, Hebron, Marcus, Coppell and Denton Ryan.
"I've gotten a chance to see a couple of the teams in our district already," Jones said. "They all look good and we're going to have our work cut out to get back to the playoffs. Nothing is going to be easy, but that's one of the reasons we set up a tough preseason schedule to get us ready."