Starting a girls basketball program is nothing new to Mansfield Lake Ridge coach Stephani Gray.
This season at Lake Ridge marks her second go-around at opening a high school program; the first was in 1998 when she established the girls basketball team at North Crowley.
Her greatest worry heading into this season -- chemistry.
Lake Ridge (7-9, 2-0 in District 15-4A) pulled students from all over Mansfield ISD, which included many basketball players who competed against each other in rivalry games for several years.
Luckily for Gray, her patchwork team fit together seamlessly.
"It's been heaven -- ninth grade through 12th grade," Gray said. "The kids have bought in and the parents have been great. I couldn't have asked for a better situation."
Gray said she had no idea who would make a switch to the new school until the first day of school and was excited and prepared to coach whoever walked through the doors in August.
Two former Mansfield Summit standouts, senior guard Maya Hawkins and senior post Jazzmin Jackson, were among those who moved to Lake Ridge and quickly became leaders on their new team, Gray said.
Hawkins led Mansfield Summit in scoring last season, averaging 15 points per game, to go along with 3.8 assists per game. Jackson also saw significant time for Summit in the post, averaging 2 rebounds per game.
However, Lake Ridge found several leaders in the young season while Hawkins was sidelined for 12 games due to injury, Gray said.
"We had kids playing positions they weren't used to and they had to step up and be a leader and that helped us grow a bit," Gray said.
Business as usual
While Granbury (10-10, 2-0 in District 7-4A) increased security this week after threats of violence were issued to the school, girls basketball coach Leta Andrews said scheduling will remain exactly the same for her team's practices and games.
Andrews said maintaining a practice routine will help the team improve as it competes in a relatively weaker district this season.
Granbury has allowed only 15 points through two district games while scoring 140.
Andrews said she hopes her team continues to play and practice just as hard against a less demanding schedule to prepare for future challenges in district and postseason play.
Balance of power
For the past several years, Irving MacArthur held a lock on the District 6-5A championship. This season, however, might be a race to the finish.
Colleyville Heritage (11-7, 2-0 in district) separated itself Friday, defeating beating Hurst L.D. Bell (12-3, 1-1) 61-56 in an overtime thriller.
While neither team has faced Irving MacArthur (13-3, 2-0) in district play, L.D. Bell blew MacArthur away in the Fort Worth ISD Cowtown Classic, 76-43.
District seeding could go down to the wire between these three, with Bell and MacArthur facing off in a regular-season finale.
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