Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

November 1, 2013

GC Basketball: Girls Season Preview: Corsicana wants a breakout season

Corsicana — Art Prevost is tired of looking at the walls in the Corsicana gym.

He wants to do a little redecorating.

“We must be the only school in Texas without any basketball banners on the wall in the gym,’’ said Prevost, who believes this is the year for girls basketball at Corsicana, where they haven’t had a girls team make the playoffs in more than 20 years.

“We want to put a banner on the gym wall. We don’t want to just make the playoffs. We want to win 20 games and make the playoffs,’’ Prevost said. “We want to put a banner up. If I have to pay for it myself, I will. How are you going to start a tradition when you have nothing for people to see?’’

Prevost begins his fifth year at Corsicana, and it has been a work in progress, but he believes this is the year— the breakthrough year for the Lady Tigers.

“There hasn’t been a team go to the playoffs at Corsicana for 20-something years,’’ Prevost said. “Our goal is to win 20 games and make the playoffs. We have the basketball players who are committed to the vision and the dream. We have kids who played summer ball. We have kids coming early in the morning to shoot and staying late to shoot. We have kids going to the Y to shoot. We have some kids who love the game. My job is to show them the way. I’m just the pilot. My job is to see how high they can soar.’’

The kids are ready to take off.

“Nobody respects who we are,’’ said point guard Calae Wilson, a 5-4 senior point guard. “This is the year we get our respect. It’s not going to be like last year or the years before. It was really frustrating not winning, but this team is different.’’

Wilson is making a difference. She has already committed to Nichols State, a Division I school in Louisiana.

“She’s the first girls player from Corsicana to get a scholarship to a D-I school,’’ Prevost said. “That’s really a great thing for her and the program.’’

The program has grown. When Wilson was a freshman the Lady Tigers went 7-22, but they have been close to a being a .500 team the last two years, going 13-15 and 14-16.

“We could have easily had a winning record last year, a game here or there,’’ Prevost said. “But when you start talking about turning a program around, you’re not talking about .500. Being .500 is average, and we want to win 20 games this year.’’

Prevost had 14 players last year, but is carrying only 11 this season.

“We had too many players last year,’’ he said. “We were young last year.’’

Corsicana brings back eight players who all started at some point last season, including Wilson, who led the team in scoring with eight points a game and also handed out more than four assists per game. Prevost has four other players back who averaged five points a game, including seniors Erica Melendez and Ariel Bartee.

Turning a program around is never easy, but the kids believe it will happen.

“It’s time to show what we’re all about,’’ Melendez said. “This is a different year. We’re a better team and we are closer. We encourage each other. Everybody is tired of losing.’’

Prevost has a team of unselfish players who share the ball on the court and share a bond on and off of it.

“Our bond is so much stronger this year,’’ Bartee said. “We let go of some things we had problems with last year.”

Corsicana plays a fast-pace game that creates shots and relies on everyone on the court, and Wilson feels that part of the game has changed, too.

“We’re a better team this year because we know each other so much better, and everybody knows their roles on the team,’’ she said.

They have to in order to play at the pace Prevost wants.

“We want to get up and down the court,’’ he said. “There’s no shot clock, but we want to get a shot off within 10 seconds. We want to find and take open shots.’’

Wilson gives the Lady Tigers great guard play, and she has talent inside with Jamie Reeves, a 6-0 sophomore, Briana Biltz, a 5-9 senior who is the captain of the volleyball team, Melendez and 5-9 Kennady Betts.

It has taken Prevost a few years to get his team on the court, but he believes they’re ready.

I think they are,’’ he said. “We are at a place where our kids can go and be basketball players, players who can make a run.’’

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