Last season all six area public school girls basketball teams advanced to the postseason, with one (Brock) almost winning another state championship.
The Lady Eagles reached the Class 3A state title game, losing to Wall. It was Brock's seventh state finals appearance in eight years, winning it all from 2009-13 and finishing second to Wall twice.
Elsewhere, the Weatherford Lady Kangaroos look ready to make another postseason run with four returning starters, as do the Peaster Lady Greyhounds with every starter back.
The season begins next week.
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WEATHERFORD LADY KANGAROOS
▪ Record last season: 26-8, 12-2 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 6A area (second) round.
▪ Coach: Darryn Shearmire.
▪ Returning starters: G Grace Ferguson, sr. (10.4 points); F Vasha Moore, sr. (8.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists); G Anna Jefferson-Polk, jr. (6.1 rebounds); F Camri Shearmire, sr.
▪ Key reserves back: G Allie McMurry, sr.; G Grace Clark, soph.; G Aubrey Garnett, sr.; P Sha'Kira Reece, sr.
▪ Top newcomer: G Iyana Dorsey, fr.
▪ Greatest strength: Experience, ball movement, execution and half-court defense.
▪ Shearmire's thoughts: "I was with the Keller schools for 13 years at Grapevine. They have great coaches. They play a style more comparable to us. Keller has the best returning group. Losing Maddie Dorris on the inside will be tough to replace on both ends, but the girls know how to pick up the slack in adjusting their play. These girls have been together for three years now. They have a unity that is second to none."
BROCK LADY EAGLES
▪ Record last season: 34-5, 13-1 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 3A state runners-up.
▪ Coach: Chance Westmoreland.
▪ Returning starters: F Emilee Popeck, jr.; G Rylee Lavender, jr.
▪ Key reserves back: F Lindy Drillette, sr.; G Taylor Hayes, sr.; F Parker King, jr.; G Breeanna Brackney, sr.
▪ Top newcomers: G Mia Cherry, jr. (moved to Brock from Ranger, where she was a starter); G Lacie McKinzie, soph.
▪ Greatest strengths/intangibles: Defense, rebounding, transition and experience.
▪ Westmoreland's thoughts: "The new district will be very competitive. Peaster should be one of the favorites since they return all their players from last year. Millsap also has some of their top players returning. We have five girls returning that played a lot of varsity minutes. We also have some players moving up that will help. We are going to play a really tough non-district schedule and I think that will prepare us for district and the playoffs."
MILLSAP LADY BULLDOGS
▪ Record last season: 11-14, 6-8 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 3A bi-district.
▪ Coach: Ron Berry.
▪ Returning starter: G Brittany Schnabel, soph. (13.1 points, 4.3 steals, 3.1 assists).
▪ Top newcomers: F Sierra Herbel, soph.; G Brandi Erwin, soph.; P Paxton Bean, jr.; P Madi Bunn, soph., G Jayde Burkette, soph.
▪ Greatest strengths/intangibles: Togetherness, eagerness to get better, and a desire to make the playoffs. Team motto is "unifinished business."
▪ District 7-3A: Breckenridge, Brock, Cisco, Eastland, Millsap, Peaster, Tolar.
▪ Berry's thoughts: "I think Peaster and Brock will be the favorites, with the rest of the teams being pretty even. We can compete for a playoff spot if the kids will work and play together. With only one player returning this season off of last year’s playoff team it will be a very challenging but rewarding year. I love a challenge like this and look forward so very much to see what we can do in our new district."
PEASTER LADY GREYHOUNDS
▪ Record last season: 20-11, 10-4 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 2A area (second) round.
▪ Coach: Benita Carlton.
▪ Returning starters: F Baylee Chapman, sr. (13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds); F Mikayla Fadden, sr. (4.0 points, 5.0 rebounds); F Rachael Gustafson, sr. (5.0 points, 3.0 rebounds); G/F Kelli Burkhalter, jr. (9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds); G/F Taryn Cast, jr. (9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals); G/F Baylee Hull, jr. (10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals) (all started during the season).
▪ Top newcomers: P Emily Grudt, soph. "We have a few that are still in volleyball we are waiting to make a decision on until we get them all together."
▪ Greatest strength: Versatility.
▪ Carlton's thoughts: "I feel like we have a shot at being district champions with everyone returning. We need to come into every game with that mentality and confidence. We have another year where we will have to wait for our volleyball players, but again that's the way it should be. I feel like the success from the sport before just trickles over to the next. All six returners can play anywhere on the court. Also, I feel our defense is our strength."
POOLVILLE LADY MONARCHS
▪ Record last season: 19-13, 7-7 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 2A bi-district.
▪ Coach: Woody Young.
▪ Returning starters: P Ryan Jennings, jr. (8.0 points, 10.0 rebounds); G Brenlee Jones, sr. (6.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists); G Kallee Cumbie, sr. (5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists)
▪ Key reserve back: G Trinity Johnson, soph. (3.0 points, 2.0 assists), will take over for her graduated sister Tracy, at point guard. Trinity started 13 games last season due to injuries.
▪ Top newcomers: P Hailey Terry, jr.
▪ District 11-2A: Alvord, Chico, Era, Muenster, Perrin-Whitt, Poolville.
▪ Greatest strengths/intangibles: Defense and leadership.
▪ Young's thoughts: "Travel will be much better. We lost three really long trips. Muenster (13) and Era (22) are both state-ranked teams and will be really good. It's definitely a reloading year (for Poolville). I'm actually excited about the upcoming season to see what kind of identity the girls will establish and see how they step up after losing Tracy who was such a big part of the program for the last four years. If we do a good job coaching the girls, and they decide to go to work and spend time working on their game, we should have a chance to be a playoff team."
▪ Record last season: 29-9, 13 in district.
▪ Playoffs: Class 5A Region I semifinals.
▪ Coach: Mike Pinkerton.
▪ Returning starters: None.
▪ Key reserves back: G/F Elizabeth Allanach, soph.; P Chloe Mefford, sr.; G/F Caden Cunningham, jr.
▪ Top newcomers: G Taylor Morgan, fr.; G Reagan Brown, soph.; G Riley Sale, fr.
▪ Greatest strengths according to Pinkerton: Youth, speed and depth.
▪ Pinkerton's thoughts: "New district is great. Will be very competitive."