Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

November 1, 2013

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

By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun

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.’’



GC TEAMS





School: Blooming Grove

Coach: Stacy McDonald (first season)

Last year’s record:  NA

Last year in playoffs: NA

Top players:

Trevonah Wiggins (Jr.), Sidney Horner (Jr.), Hannah Southard (So.), Brittany Nichols (So.)



Team strength: The Lady Lions are a scrappy, hustling and aggressive group that dives for loose balls and runs the floor.Coach quote:  

“They’re hungry, they’re coachable and they’re ready to turn the program around.”







School: Dawson

Coach: Kelsey Tucker (first season)

Last year’s record:4-25

Last year in playoffs: NA

Top players: Kaylee Martinez (Sr.) Courtney Warren (Jr.) Jalyn Miller (Jr.) Stephanie Lindsey (So.)

Team strength: A scrappy team and the coach feels her kids are in great shape.

Coach quote: “We have a young team but with strong, dedicated players. Should be an exciting season.’’



School: Frost

Coach: Clark Moore (second season)

Last year’s record: 28-4

Last year in playoffs: 2013 (Area champions)

Top players: Diana Rios (Sr. G.), Jae Moore (So., F), Kaycee Bowling (So. G), Madison Revill (So. F), Heather Montgomery (Jr., F), Morgan Elmore (So. G).

Team strength: Playoff experience and five starters back.

Coach quote: “Our strength is our team continuity from playing all sports together.’’

School: Kerens

Coach: Denise Lincoln (eighth season)

Last year’s record: 30-6

Last year in playoffs:  2013 (region quarterfinals)

Top players: Taylor Ames (Sr.), Breanna Baxter (Jr.), Marqueshia Kelly (Sr.), Cambree Betts (Sr.) Tinesha Tolliver (Jr.), Kiarea Lindsey (Jr.)

Team strength: Ames (15 points per game), Baxter (12), Kelly 10) all averaged double figures last year and every starter returns to make Kerens a legitimate threat to get back to the Class 1A Final Four (the Lady Cats were there two years ago).

Coach quote: “We have everybody back and the three seniors played when we went to the Final Four when they were sophomores, and (Baxter) played as a freshman on that team.’’

School: Mildred

Coach: Dale Clement

Last year’s record: 18-11

Last year in playoffs: 2013

Top players: Maddie Moore (So.), Shelby Adamson (Sr.), Raeleigh Bottoms (Sr.), Allison Hierholzer (Sr.).

Team strength: Moore averaged 8.3 points, 5 assists and four steals, Adamson averaged 8.4 points, eight rebounds, and Bottoms averaged six points per game. Coach quote: “This team really stives to hold opponents to less than 35 points. We did so 14 times last season.’’

School: Rice

Coach: Jennifer Blake (third season)

Last year’s record:  3-22

Last year in playoffs: 2012

Top players: Branisha Connor (Sr.), Samantha Harris (Sr.), Ashton Metcalfe (Sr.).

Team Strength: Returning 10 of 12 players.

Coach quote: “Last season was many of the players' first time to play varsity. This year, with all but 2 returning, we will be a stronger team due to having that experience. All of our girls worked all summer to build our program and I believe that will show this year. These girls ended the season last year as a team and have worked as a team since.’’



 School: Wortham

Coach:  Carla Freeman (sixth season)

Last year’s record: 19-16

Last year in playoffs: 2013

Top players: Kierra Busby (Sr,), Sara Sessions Sr.).

Team strength: Busby averaged 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Sessions averaged six points and four steals a game. Wortham returns everyone from last year’s team and that experience is a strength.

Coach quote: “The girls are excited about the upcoming season and although we are in a very tough district, we should have a gr

School: Wortham

Coach:  Carla Freeman (sixth season)

Last year’s record: 19-16

Last year in playoffs: 2013

Top players: Kierra Busby (Sr,), Sara Sessions Sr.).

Team strength: Busby averaged 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Sessions averaged six points and four steals a game. Wortham returns everyone from last year’s team and that experience is a strength.

Coach quote: “The girls are excited about the upcoming season and although we are in a very tough district, we should have a great year.’’