Lady Jackets handle Hallsville in season opener

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The Mineola Lady Jackets won their opening home game of the year by defeating the Hallsville Ladycats 40-32 last Tuesday. Mineola showed a significant degree of confidence in their win over a much taller Hallsville squad.

A veteran starting five took the court against Hallsville. Tahjae Black, Meghan Brewington, Cyndi Butler, Sabria Dean and Tiara Stephens received the starting nod. Ten of the 13 players on the roster have the experience of last year’s deep playoff run. Freshmen Mikyla Bachert and Mylee Fischer and junior Brittany Pickle are new to the varsity roster.

The Lady Jackets had a bit of a disjointed start to the contest as the action was end-to-end in the first quarter. Both teams struggled with their early-game shooting, and the first quarter ended with a 10-8 lead for the home side.

There were some characteristics of the Lady Jackets team which looked very familiar to their fans. A hustling press and an aggressive style of play highlighted their efforts. The press, which had been so successful for Mineola in last year’s campaign, was even more stifling. The Lady Jackets gave the Ladycats no room to breathe. If anything, the press was more disciplined than 2018.

At the half the score stood 18-15, Mineola. While it took a half of basketball to warm-up the offense, Tahjae Black had several outstanding defensive plays in the first half. Alyssa Cannon and Mikyla Bachert gave the Jackets quality minutes off the bench.

The Jackets opened a 21-point second-half lead behind the offensive skills of Sabria Dean. Dean entered a zone in the second half and seemed to be all over the court, pushing the ball, blocking shots and warming up her jumper. A 15-0 run in the third quarter decided the game.

New Head Coach Brad Gibson had reason to be pleased with a number of aspects of the Lady Jackets’ performance. They executed plays, such as inbounding the ball, maintained the press without losing defensive integrity and often found the open player with an extra pass. Certainly there is a lot of improvement to be had, but the win speaks well for the young season.

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