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THE COMMUNITY NEWS

November 12, 2010

BASKETBALL

Coaches pleased overall after scrimmage ◗ Ladycat basketball

has high hopes By Dominic Genetti The Community News

Fans came into Aledo High School’s gymnasium last week to hear the sounds of leather balls bouncing against the hardwood floor; however, it wasn’t the volleyball team preparing for a shot at a state championship. It was all three Ladycat basketball teams scrimmaging to start off the 2010-2011 season. Aledo faced the Crowley Lady Eagles in their first full workout of the new season and the coaches of each squad from the freshmen team all the way up to the varsity were mostly pleased with the way their players performed. But with the season still around the corner there’s still work that needs to be done. “We’ve got a lot of basic stuff to work on,” freshmen coach Heather Keeton said. “They did really good on their offense. Defense, we still have a lot of things to work through; getting on the ball, getting around the ball. We’re going to work hard on that.” But now that first game jitters are cured, Keeton said the freshmen team could really pose quite the challenge to the opponents as long as they stick together. “Everybody has to work together,” the coach said. “If everybody’s consistent with that, then we’re going to do awesome.” In the junior varsity game that followed, the team, made up with a majority of freshmen, turned

up the speed and pace with a quick offense equipped with hard passes that gave the Ladycats an advantage in the early half of the exhibition match. “We are very athletic,” junior varsity coach Nikki Hyles said. “I’m really excited about what we’re doing. We work hard everyday. Defense is a little better this year and the hustle is there, that’s the biggest thing.” With a number of players contributing to the team’s play, Hyles still reminds that it’s early in the season. There’s no standout, no team leader or even a full squad. The coach said there’s injuries to deal with, players to await as volleyball advances in the postseason and most of all cuts still have to be made. However, if everything goes according to plan, the Ladycat junior varsity team will see good results. Some could even get a call to the varsity squad. “This freshmen group that we have has a lot of potential,” Hyles said. “I have high expectations of the kids, I’m hard on them and hopefully they’ll be able to handle that and push through.” Watching each game and lending coaching advice was the program’s head coach Rusty Johnson. The coach stood at the school entrance to the gymnasium as he analyzed every player. But when the varsity team took to the court, Johnson, who also assists with the Bearcat football team, took to his post on the Aledo bench to guide the Ladycat veteran players. “I think there was a lot of nerves early,” he said.

Johnson, who emphasizes speed both offensively and defensively was pleased in his team’s 2010-2011 season debut, but that was only for what the Ladycats produced on offense. On the defensive side, Johnson saw the need for a lot of improvement. “I think we played defense, one out of every three possessions,” he said, “and my concern – or my challenge to them is that I know we can (be fast defensively) because I did see it.” A huge fan of having a more solid man-to-man defense over a prepared zone defense, Johnson said he wants to see faster play which in turn will allow more possessions for Aledo and put more points on the board. The ultimate goal is to rack up points early so players can come off the bench and not only contribute, but seal the deal in every game and put a mark in the team’s win column. “I think we’re deep enough with our bench that if we will get more committed to defensive ends, we’ll create more offense obviously and our bench will come in and hold the fort down for us and we can run nine, ten girls out there at (opponents) and that’s going to benefit us in the long run come the fourth quarter,” Johnson said.

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FOOTBALL from page six

Going into the regular season finale, Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan had some concerns about the Bears’ defense. “They’re big and athletic, especially their front four,” Buchanan said last week, “and their linebackers, they’re good-sized kids also.” However, with the exception of Aledo’s first drive, the Bearcats had nothing to worry about when it came to the Bears’ defense. It was actually the Brewer defense that couldn’t stop Aledo from putting more than 40 points on the scoreboard. “They came out here hitting, they had nothing to lose,” junior running back Johnathan Gray said. “We practiced all week to come out and execute.” The first drive, though, caused Buchanan a little worry. “The first drive I didn’t feel very good since we went three and out,” he said. Aledo led 28-0 before they came back harder in the second half to gain 20 more points that would seal the deal on a season that has the potential of being a repeat of the 2009 championship drive. The win at Brewer set up high seasonending numbers for Bearcat stars Matt Bishop, Michael Mann and Gray. Bishop finishes the 2010 regular season with a passing total of 1,660 yards and 18 touchdowns. Mann had 35 receptions, five touchdowns and a total of 605 yards with a 17.3 yard average. Gray ends the regular season with the highest numbers, boasting 2,199 yards, 38 touchdowns and a 10.6 yard average.

EDITOR’S NOTE Due to the Post Office holiday on Thursday, Nov. 11, this issue of The Community News was produced Wednesday, Nov. 10 for Friday delivery. Obviously, the Aledo-O.D. Wyatt bi-district game was played in the interim. Up to date information can always be found at our Web site, www.community-news.com.

All three teams will open their seasons at home Saturday, Nov. 13 against Decatur. The freshmen tipoff at 10 a.m., junior varsity at 11:15 a.m. and the varsity at 12:30 p.m.

JAMES ALBRITTON/SALTFORKIMAGES.COM

Senior Rob Blowers brings down a Brewer Bear in last Friday’s district finale. Blowers had 63 tackles during the regular season.

Gray, the son of former New England Patriot James Gray, also finishes the regular season on his way to the record books with the highest points scored. The running back gathered 228 points for Aledo while Todd Christian, Kevin Frantz, Mann and Bishop all scored 30. On the defensive end, Gunner Johnson led in tackles with 73. Conner Bradham followed with 64 and Rob Blowers with 63. Bradham and Blowers also tied for 41 solo tackles. James Place, Cameron Cunningham and Riney had a combined nine interceptions with three each. “I’ve been coaching a long time and we don’t have many undefeated regular seasons like this,” Buchanan told reporters after the game. “Anytime you have kids that stay focused and do what these (kids) have done you’re extremely proud of them.”

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Football vs. Brewer Part II  

Part II of the full story