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12A November 5, 2010

THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Sports

BASKETBALL

High expectations await Ladycats on hardwood ◗ Aledo is ranked 13th in

preseason coaches poll

By Dominic Genetti The Community News

Logam Mittie, last season’s district MVP, returns as a senior to help lead the Ladycats, who are ranked #13 in a Texas pre-season poll. JAMES ALBRITTON/SALTFORKIMAGES.COM

Aledo head girls basketball coach Rusty Johnson might be a little shorthanded at the start of the season. Three of his players, Mallory Powell, Hannah Loftin, and Kelcie Childs, are trying to make school history with the Ladycats volleyball team as they push for a state championship, but that’s not stopping the coach from getting his girls prepared for a season that already has them ranked state wide. The Ladycats are ranked 13th in Texas in a preseason coach’s poll. “We certainly took off after our 5-5 start [last season],” Johnson said, “and going into our second year with our same group of girls, I would really expect that we hit the floor running from day one.” And day one isn’t far away. The Ladycats will host Crowley in a preseason scrimmage at Aledo High School on Nov. 6. “We’re not doing anything different than we did last year,” Johnson, who enters his sophomore season as head

coach, said. “One of the things we talk about is run fast, play slow. Be able to play as fast as you can, but the game can be slow from the player’s perspective.” The fast, but slow, pace is what Johnson has set for the whole team, especially on offense. Last year’s district MVP, Logan Mittie, now a senior, managed 6.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 6.5 steals in district play last season, not to mention an average of 28 points per district game. However, she wasn’t alone. Mittie was accompanied by Powell, now a sophomore, on the team’s dominant offensive force for the 2009-2010 season. Powell was named Newcomer of the Year for District 6-4A and averaged 10.8 points per league game and 6.4 rebounds. Speed, though, isn’t just going to be utilized when the Ladycats are on offense. Johnson is taking practices into high gear before the start of the 2010-2011 season and making sure that same pace and accelerated play is used on defense as well. One tactic he is initializing is a constant man-to-man defense. “We’ll try push it at every opportunity,” Johnson said. “Very

rarely do we get into a zone of any sort. If we do, it will be a full court press. “I’m not one that likes a slow tempo game. I think if you set back in a zone it breaks – one, it creates laziness. I think when you hear zone, girls think ‘I can take a play off, this is rest time’ – and it’s hard to think you can play fast offensively if you’re going to be back in the zone defensively.” But one of the advantages the Ladycats will have this season outside of the numbers they put up in 2009-2010 and the return of several players from last season, Johnson expects is the girls’ closeness. Many of the players are teammates in other athletic programs and all signs point to good team morale, he said, when the players support one another in other sports. And when the clock begins to tick for a new season, the head coach is confident in what the Aledo Ladycats will produce. “To match our offense philosophy by wanting to push the ball and really take first available shots,” Johnson said, “that’s one thing we preach.” District play begins next month on the road against Birdville in North Richland Hills.

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2010 Girls Basketball Preview  

A look at the new season