Jacksonville head girl's basketball coach Tony Harris told his team he saw something that he liked — improvement — during Wednesday afternoon's practice at the Jacksonville Gymnasium.
The Maidens, who are coming off of an uncharacteristic mediocre season last year in which they finished 18-15, 7-7 in district, have been actively preparing for Saturday's scrimmage at Longview, as well as the season opener on Nov. 10 at Diboll for a week now.
Harris should be a recognizable name to Jacksonville fans as he has already served one tour as Maidens' head coach and was in charge of Troup's Lady Tigers for the past four seasons.
Around three dozen young ladies were in attendance on Halloween afternoon, working on footwork, passing, various fundamentals and, yes, the always dreaded, but necessary conditioning drills.
Those young ladies will comprise the rosters of the school's three teams this fall and winter.
Harris, is not the only familiar face when it come to Maiden hoops. Jacksonville returns five players that are all battle tested and that have paid big dividends in the past for Jacksonville.
Chancii Scott (5-foot-9, senior) is back, along with Sametria Baker (5-foot-6, senior) and Keevie Mathis (5-foot-10, senior).
Scott averaged 12 points per game (ppg.) last year and seven rebounds and should be the team's choice to get the ball to in the paint, once again.
Baker plays both of the guard positions and brings a 4 ppg. and 3 assist per game average back.
Mathis is another one who is not afraid to mix it up in the middle. She accounted for seven boards a night a year ago.
Jasmine Parson, a 5-foot-8 junior point guard, returns this season after missing last year for medical reasons.
Parson was a key cog in the 2010-11 Maiden team that advanced all the way to the regional tournament.
Sophomore Demonica Franklin, an honorable mention all-district choice a year ago, should be another player to watch.
Shenequa Redd-Dorsey is back as an assistant coach, along with Kim Crowley, who is in her first year at Jacksonville.
District 16-4A appears, at least on paper, to be very formidable this season, with the likes of John Tyler, who went 24-9 a year ago, and Lindale, who is making the move from Class 3A — the Lady Eagles made it as far as the regional quarterfinals last season and return all but two off of that squad.
Nacogdoches can't be written off either as the Lady Dragons posted a 23-11 record in 2011-12 and return Charity Page, the district's defensive most valuable player.
The Jacksonville girls will open the campaign by being on the road for the most of the 2012 portion of their schedule.
Jacksonville will play only two home games — Nov. 20 against Lovelady and versus Tatum on Dec. 11, prior to the start of district on Jan. 4, 2013 (at home, against Whitehouse).
The Maidens will play in three tournaments this year, starting on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 with the Ennis Tournament.
On Dec. 6-8 Jacksonville will be a participant in the Great East Texas Shootout in Brownsboro.
The unit's final tourney action will come on Dec. 27-29 when the Maidens play in the Kaufman Tournament.
Beginning with the Jan. 11 game with Lindale, which is slated to take place in Jacksonville, the Maidens and the Indians will be playing at the same venue each night throughout the remainder of the girl's season, which will give fans two varsity games for the price of one.
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New Summerfield downs Van, 3-1, to win small school soccer tourney
The book closed on the the first year of New Summerfield High School boy's soccer season on Saturday night, after the Hornets had polished off Van, 3-1, to win the Small School Soccer Championship Tournament, which was played on a rainy Saturday night at Bill McRae Field at Jacksonville College.
The Hornets ended up with a record of 11-5-0.
Troup baseball: Smith tosses a no hitter; fans 12 Harmony batters
Luke Smith turned in a dominating performance in Troup's 10-0 win over Harmony in a District 18-2A affair that was played at the Tigers' ball yard Friday.
Smith pitched a no-hitter against the Eagles and struck out 12 of the 18 opposing batters that he faced.
Priddy Good Stuff: Brook Hill disposes of Class 6-A Lake Hamilton, Ark.
Brook Hill evened its record at 6-6 Saturday afternoon by leveling Lake Hamilton, Ark., a Class 6-A school with an enrollment in excess of 900, 4-1, in final day play of the Longview Lobo Classic Challenge.
Eagle 9 drop decisions to Carthage
Baseball teams from Rusk and Carthage did battle Friday and Saturday by playing a single game in each community.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the results was the same as the Bulldogs ran their worksheet to 7-6 on the year by beating Rusk 2-0 in Carthage Friday night and 6-0 Saturday afternoon at Eagle Park.
Indian baseball loses twice in Quitman tourney
After starting off the Quitman Tournament with a pair of wins, the Jacksonville baseball Indians' luck changed Friday and Saturday when the Tribe came up short, losing 13-3 to Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, and tumbling 10-7 to the host Bulldogs from Quitman on Saturday.
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Crimson Tide's Littlejohn moves to 5-0 with 1st SEC win
Rusk High School product Sydney Littlejohn, a true freshman at the University of Alabama, moved to 5-0 on the year Saturday when she earned her first Southeastern Conference victory of her career.
Prep Soccer: Hawkins boots Brook Hill girls to another state championship
Brook Hill successfully defended its TAPPS DIII girls's soccer state title on Friday by slipping past Austin Vertas 1-0 at Awty International School.
Elise Hawkins was the unlikely hero for the Lady Guard. The senior defender scored what turned out to be the only goal of the match around the 12-minute mark of the final period.
35-4A Soccer: Jacksonville girls down Lady Hornets, 1-0
Jacksonville's Fightin' Maidens collected a District 35-4A triumph Friday night at Tomato Bowl without even scoring a goal.
Yes that's right, because Lufkin Hudson knocked in the only goal of the match — an own goal — with 12:58 to play in the match.
After the Maidens (7-7-2, 6-2-1 District 35-4A) almost scored on their own, the ball deflected a few feet out in front of the Hudson goalkeeper and in the made rush to clear the ball already Hornet accidentally knocked the ball into the Jacksonville goal.
16-3A Softball: Springer fans 13 as Bullard stops Spring Hill, 4-1
Kristie “Coco” Springer, a Texas Woman's University signee, struck out 13 Spring Hill batters Friday night to help propel Bullard to a 4-1 win in a District 16-3A tilt that was played in Longview.
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