Texas High returns a plethora of talent and experience from last season's 14-14 girls basketball team.
The Lady Tigers aim to improve on last season's fourth place finish in the District 16-5A standings, using the experience and knowing what is expected by second-year head coach Craig Collvins.
"I think we can be good; we're playing with a little more confidence," Collvins said. "A lot of the small things we weren't consistent with last year, we've been doing in the scrimmages and even in practice. We're hustling to loose balls, people are flying around and we're playing good defense.
"The biggest thing I've seen, so far, was there were spurts where we couldn't put the ball in the basket. Right now, I haven't seen that as an issue."
The entire roster for the Tigers are juniors and sophomores, most of whom have a year or two of varsity experience.
"Most of these girls (in the junior class) played on the varsity as freshmen and again last year as sophomores," Collvins said. "This is kind of a turning point in the maturation process; you can see that maturity on the court, in practice and just how they handle themselves. It's hard to beat experience."
With the experience the players have gained, the leadership has also followed.
"We have several who are emerging as leaders on the floor," the coach said. "You have to start with Antonia Porter; she's kinda been the go-to person the last two years. There are people who are up there with her, as well."
Porter is a 5-9 guard starting her junior season. Fellow junior guards Kiasyia Morrison (5-1) and Mia Wilson (5-3) will handle the point guard duties.
"Kiasyia has been more vocal, and Mia is another who is stepping up into a leadership role for us," Collvins said. "The most exciting thing for me has been the chemistry we have right now and we're playing for one another. You hope that that shows up in games."
Junior Nia Wilson (5-1) is a junior guard, and Kerrighan Dunn (5-8) played last season as a freshman. Junior Brittany Kile (5-4) also helps at guard.
Juniors Vicki Willis (5-6) and Maranda Miller (6-1) are forwards who can also play facing the goal. Returnees Amiyah Rone (5-10) and Unique McBride (5-8) will also help down low.
With what those girls can do as far as playing with their backs to the goal or turning around and shooting the ball, it looks good on paper," Collvins said.
Sadeya Finley (5-8) is a sophomore post, and sophomore Kiya Mitchell (6-1) transferred from Arkansas.
"When we talk about what were some of the deficiencies from last year, we didn't have a strong inside presence," said Collvins, who is assisted by Shonda Wilson.
"We've got some girls who have experience and they're playing with confidence, also, so hopefully they can fill those voids."
Texas High begins its regular season today at Mount Vernon and hosts Liberty-Eylau Friday.
2017-18 LADY TIGERS BASKETBALL
Nov. 14=at Mount Vernon=5 p.m.
Nov. 17=Liberty-Eylau=4:30 p.m.
Nov. 20=at Pleasant Grove=4:30 p.m.
Nov. 21=at Winnsboro=4 p.m.
Nov. 28=at Prescott=6:15 p.m.
Nov. 30-Dec. 2=Winnsboro Hoopfest=TBA
Dec. 5=Ashdown=6:15 p.m.
Dec. 7-9=Great East Texas Shootout=TBA
Dec. 12=x-Hallsville=5 p.m.
Dec. 15=x-at Pine Tree=5 p.m.
Dec. 18=x-at Marshall=5 p.m.
Dec. 18-30=Hallsville Classic=TBA
Jan. 5=x-Sulphur Springs=5 p.m.
Jan. 9=x-at Mount Pleasant=5 p.m.
Jan. 12=x-Greenville=5 p.m.
Jan. 16=x-at Hallsville=5 p.m.
Jan. 19=x-Pine Tree=5 p.m.
Jan. 23=x-Marshall=5 p.m.
Jan. 30=x-at Sulphur Springs=5 p.m.
Feb. 2=x-Mount Pleasant=5 p.m.
Feb. 6=x-at Greenville=5 p.m.
x-District 16-5A game.