Lady Bulldogs open season

Posted 11/17/20

The North Zulch women’s basketball team opened their pre-district season Tuesday with a home matchup against Mumford and will host Aggieland Homeschool in their homecoming matchup Saturday.

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Lady Bulldogs open season

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The North Zulch women’s basketball team opened their pre-district season Tuesday with a home matchup against Mumford and will host Aggieland Homeschool in their homecoming matchup Saturday.

The Lady Bulldogs will compete in class 1A in 2020 after battling a highly competitive 2A slate last season. The team returns eight members who played at the varsity level last season and will join a large district with Richards, Dime Box, Bartlett, Buckholts, Calvert, Fayetteville and Round Top-Carmine.

“I would like to get into a regional tournament situation,” said head coach Michael Stenseth, who is in his third season at the helm at North Zulch and has won more than 600 high school matchups in his career. “When you make it to that level, anything can happen on any given day. I feel like we are one of the favorites to win in our district, then it just depends who you draw in the second or third rounds.”

The team’s seniors include Katelyn Crocker, Trinitty Wallace, Dannicka Diserens, Madison Murphy and Stevie Broussard. They will also return junior Lakin Madden, who was a significant contributor in 2019.

The senior-heavy roster hopes to make noise against the new 1A slate after an abundance of experience against bigger, 2A schools a season ago. The matchups against former district foes such as Snook and Somerville have made the team battle-tested entering the new year.

“In 2A, the teams tended to be bigger and they tended to have more players,” said Stenseth. “The three teams that finished in front of us in district (last year), and even Iola, who finished a game behind us, had at least one bigger player and obviously Somerville and Snook had more. Every one of those teams had a quality point guard.”

North Zulch began practice as a full group Wednesday following the school’s volleyball season. Practice time in the offseason was also limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, giving the experienced Lady Bulldogs a natural advantage as they hit the ground running in 2020.

“Jumping into some of the drills that we do to reinforce what we want to do, there hasn't been much time used on teaching,” said Stenseth. “Everybody remembers what it is and we can get it going. That is beneficial, that is one of the good things about having a bit of an established program: there tends to be some continuity from one year to the next.”

North Zulch defeated two teams that qualified for the Regional Tournament in 1A last season, which could be a strong indicator of their capabilities in 2020.

“We were a 1A school last year (numbers wise) playing in 2A,” said Stenseth. “I feel pretty good going into this region, but until we actually see all of the other teams, we won’t know. It is definitely going to be a plus to be playing in 1A and having a larger number of kids that could make up a team at the varsity level than some other 1A schools.”

Other returning players include Kam Crocker and Shae Keith. Stenseth will be assisted by Coach Melissa Padgett, who also leads the North Zulch volleyball team.

Saturday’s homecoming matchup at NZHS will tip off at 7:15 p.m. The team will then return home Monday to host Cameron before traveling to St. Joseph’s Tuesday.

The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to open district play Dec. 8 at Round Top. Their first home district matchup comes Dec. 11 against Richards.

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