In the previous four seasons, Liberty-Eylau has won a district title, advanced to the playoffs, and now Lady Leopard head coach is ready for her team to take the next step.
The Leopards are 2-0 already and don't play again until Friday, when L-E travels to Texas High for a varsity-only game at 4:30 p.m.
"I like the intensity we've played with, and I like the enjoy the defensive mindset that we've had so far," Watson said. "Defense has always been a focus for me; if we go hard, playing defense then that will create offensive opportunities that weren't there.
"The girls are really hungry, and we have shown a lot of maturity. Them maturing will play a huge role in our success this year. We've got a lot of seniors, and our experienced players are encouraging each other and even my younger players, during practice. They've matured not just as players but as young ladies, also, and that's going to help them on the court, as well."
Liberty-Eylau finished at 20-12 last season, ending the year in the first round of the playoffs.
Filling up the paint and occupying the lane will be seniors Derrica Henderson (5-11) and Amoiya Gentry (5-8), along with juniors Mycah Hurd (6-0) and Keeley Norris (5-11).
"Those girls go for any rebound that can get to, and they play hard," Watson said. "We're working some guard-post, which we haven't done before, and get the ball inside."
Seniors Taylor Crabtree (5-7), Kaliyah Thompson (5-7) and Skylier Bailey (5-8) will be the shooting guards/wings for the Leopards, with junior Kayla Norris (5-10) also able to come in and shoot the ball.
The three seniors will also help spell sophomore point guard Eliyah Howard (5-8).
"With this group of girls, we have to find the right combination, which is going to be tough," Watson said. "I am looking for finding the right two combinations, where I can switch five girls at a time. We've just been getting back in the swing of it, and we had a lot of shots that didn't fall in the first game that fell in the second game.
"Eliyah is fast and can get around just about anybody you put in front of her," the coach said. "She knows how to finish or dish it off to the posts. She was here for the first part of the season but moved and came back. She sees the court very well."
The Leopards won't play at home again until Dec. 5 against Tyler Lee.
"I expect these girls to play hard and play as a team," Watson said. "I want us to at least go to the third round of the playoffs; we've only been to the first round since
I've been here. I want to win district, have a great preseason leading into the district, and from there just take it one game at a time.
"We have the natural talent to make a deep run in the playoffs, and athleticism to accomplish those goals."
2017-18 LADY LEOPARDS BASKETBALL
Nov. 17=at Texas High=4:30 p.m.
Nov. 20=at Queen City=2 p.m.
Nov. 21=at Gilmer=2 p.m.
Nov. 28=at Jefferson=5 p.m.
Nov. 30-Dec. 2=MP Chapel Hill tournament=TBA
Dec. 5=Robert E. Lee=4:30 p.m.
Dec. 7-9=Gunslinger Shootout=TBA
Dec. 12=at Tatum=5 p.m.
Dec. 15=Paris Chisum=5 p.m.
Dec. 28-30=Hallsville Classic=TBA
Jan. 2=All Saints=4 p.m.
Jan. 5=x-Paris=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 9=x-at North Lamar=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 12=x-at Atlanta=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 16=x-Pittsburg=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 19=x-at Pleasant Grove=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 23=x-at Paris=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 26=x-North Lamar=4:30 p.m.
Jan. 30=x-Atlanta=4:30 p.m.
Feb. 2=x-at Pittsburg=4:30 p.m.
Feb. 6=x-Pleasant Grove=4:30 p.m.
x-District 14-4A game.