The Madisonville Lady Mustangs basketball team began their season with matchups against Huntsville and Crockett as they try to establish their identity after losing four players to graduation last year.
“We have only been practicing together for a couple of weeks now,” said Madisonville head women’s basketball Coach Shana Taylor. “It takes some time to establish new leadership, especially when you lose the leaders we did.”
Taylor, who is in her 12th year at the helm, believes the younger members of her roster will develop into leadership roles once they have more games and practices under their belts. She also believes that establishing those leaders will be the main thing to focus on this year.
“Leadership and finding an identity are the most important things right now,” said Taylor. “With our youth, we have to take it slow. The kids we have in critical roles have not been there before, so it will take some time.”
Coach Taylor is also trying to figure out how to her adjust her overall coaching style to match her new roster. For the first time in her tenure, she does not see a true center in her lineup at the beginning of the season.
Right now, Khyra Cooper is playing inside to fill the void, but Taylor sees her as a versatile player who is able to play anywhere on the court.
“(Khyra) is not a true ‘big’ but is forced to play inside for us,” said Taylor. “She is someone who is capable of playing on the perimeter and I would rather have her versatility. This is the first time we have not had any true ‘bigs’ on the roster.”
Last year, the Lady Mustangs finished 4-3 in district play and advanced to the second round of the postseason. They took down Gatesville in the first round before they were defeated by Navasota.
“The personnel has changed and we are still trying to figure out what type of game we will be able to play,” said Taylor. “We are pretty fast. It might not be the quickest team I have ever had, but we are certainly quicker than we were last year.”
The Lady Mustangs will compete in a pair of tournaments before returning to MHS to host Lake Creek on Nov. 19.