Lady Leop­ards count­ing on ex­pe­ri­ence

Texarkana Gazette - - SPORTS - By Earl Gill

The Lib­erty-Ey­lau girls bas­ket­ball squad looks to build off their past growth for the up­com­ing sea­son.

Aquanetta Wat­son is en­ter­ing her fifth sea­son at the helm and is ex­pect­ing her girls to blos­som af­ter be­ing in her pro­gram through­out their high school ca­reers.

“I’m ex­cited to get the sea­son started,” Wat­son said. “I think this year will be one to re­mem­ber. We have some key play­ers re­turn­ing. We’re a se­nior-heavy team. We have eight se­niors, and I’m pumped to see what we can pull to­gether this year.”

Se­niors Kayla Nor­ris, Kee­ley Nor­ris, Skylier Bai­ley, Rayanna Stivers and Kirsten Bai­ley are ex­pected to carry the load for the Leop­ards.

“Kee­ley ac­tu­ally made the play­off run with me her fresh­man year,” Wat­son said. “Kayla and Kee­ley are twins, but one plays the wing and the other plays the post. Skylier is one the lead­ers for our team. She keeps the girls go­ing, and she’s al­ways in a good spirit.

“Kirsten played ju­nior var­sity for us last year, but she has re­ally brought a spark of en­ergy for us this year. She thrives off of de­fense, and she kinda re­minds me of my­self when I was in high school. Dayshia Ge­orge is also go­ing to set a spark for us de­fen­sively. Rayanna brings the heart and hus­tle that our team is go­ing to need to be suc­cess­ful this year. Zoe Tucker will also pro­vide big min­utes for us in the post area.”

The Leop­ards fin­ished dis­trict 9-1 last sea­son, with an over­all record of 23-12.

“The girls know what I ex­pect of them,” Wat­son said. “Hope­fully, we can run a sys­tem where our girls don’t get too tired. We want to keep fresh legs out there, and also keep a fresh set of legs out there at the end of the game. We’re ex­cited to get on the court and get one un­der our belt.

“I al­ways tell the girls, once you learn a sys­tem, you know what to ex­pect. Th­ese girls know from Day 1 I’m go­ing to be tough on you, but I want the best for you. I want 110 per­cent at ev­ery prac­tice. We prac­tice hard, so it will show up dur­ing ev­ery game.”

The Leop­ards host Mar­shall at 5 p.m. Tues­day at the Rader Dome.

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