MadVille women's B-Ball takes the court

Posted 11/3/20

The young Madisonville women’s basketball team is set to begin their 2020 season under the guidance of head coach Monique Whittaker, who took over the position in March.

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MadVille women's B-Ball takes the court

Posted

The young Madisonville women’s basketball team is set to begin their 2020 season under the guidance of head coach Monique Whittaker, who took over the position in March.

The Lady Mustangs will take on Jasper at MHS Friday at 5 p.m. They traveled to Brenham Tuesday to compete in a scrimmage.

Madisonville’s roster makeup features nine freshman or sophomore players and three returning varsity members, including seniors Daiona Johnson and Tra’Shayla Smith and sophomore Jerkayla Dickey.

“We are a young team, it’s a blank canvas for me and everyone else,” said Whittaker. “We are really just working on basics: ball handling, court awareness, where to be out on the floor and how to be a hard worker.”

Madisonville graduated Khyra Cooper, Jyah Burns and Daija Martin last year after falling to Carthage in the Bi-District playoffs last season.

Their new roster consists of Daiona Johnson, Smith, Dickey, Farrah Moffett (junior), Makayla Ford (sophomore), Nyla Harrison (sophomore), Briana Johnson (sophomore), Kristen Tolliver (sophomore), Olyvia Brooks (freshman), La’Nya Childress (freshman), Makenzie Krantz (freshman) and Ke’Myreul Wheaton (freshman).

“There is so much potential in this group and so much athleticism,” said Whittaker. “There are some freshman who are going to be asked to play an important role at the varsity level in a pretty competitive district. I am really going to be depending on these upperclassmen.”

It will also be a new-look district for the Lady Mustangs. The realignment saw Madisonville join the ranks of China Spring, Connally, La Vega, Mexia and Robinson after finishing third in district behind Fairfield and Rusk in 2019. Mexia will be the lone remaining district foe from last year.

“We just try to look at what is right in front of us,” said Whittaker. “The overall picture is we want to be hard workers. We want to outwork our opponent, but we want to do it with class and be respectful. We want to be great representatives of MHS. To be a Lady Mustang is a very big privilege.”

Whittaker enters the role after Shana Taylor, who held the position from 2007-19.

Last year, Whittaker was the head coach of Cleveland after taking over the position from 14-year coach Shiakiea Carter. This came after four seasons at the helm of Coldspring-Oakhurst, where she led the Lady Trojans to back-to-back Regional Quarterfinal appearances.

She was officially hired in March, but could not meet with the team until June due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lady Mustangs will open their season Friday with a home matchup against Jasper, who went 29-8 and won their district in 2019.

“(Jasper) is an athletic group,’ said Whittaker. “But we are athletic as well, so I think we are going to matchup pretty well. They like it fast-paced and are a fun team to watch.”

Due to COVID-19, the UIL is not allowing teams to compete in preseason tournaments this year. The Lady Mustangs are currently scheduled to compete in 17 games, including Friday’s Jasper matchup, before opening district play in Mexia Jan. 5.

Tickets to Madisonville basketball games, including Friday’s, must be purchased online in advance through the district website’s Hometown Ticketing section. No tickets will be available for purchase at the gate and capacity is set at 50%.

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