by JASON GORDON
The Hays High girls basketball team is planning on making a name for itself in the Class 4A regional scene during the 2012-13 season.
After making it to state in 2009, and qualifying for the regional quarterfinals in 2010, the Lady Rebs went through some growing pains and were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round in both of the past two seasons.
“This year, our players know the first round of the playoffs isn’t our goal,” said head coach Danny Preuss. “If we can get our varsity veterans to gel with our newcomers, we have a chance to go several rounds deep in the playoffs and maybe make a run to state. We see that kind of potential every day in practice.”
One of the reasons for Preuss’ confidence is that the Lady Rebels are solid both inside and outside with their guard and post players. Hays also has more than just a regular starting five they can count on game in and game, out.
“Honestly, we don’t have a regular starting five,” Preuss said. “We have eight or nine players we could start on any given night. We watch the tape from the previous game and determine who’s playing best. The girls know that and the competition helps our team.”
The trees inside are Jennifer Colonnetta, Jill Borreson, Jordyne Dugger and Kamryn Kent.
Borreson, a 6-foot, 3-inch junior, has already scored 20 and 19 points in games early this season.
“Jill played a lot of games in the offseason this spring and summer,” Preuss said. “She has a lot more post moves. We need her to score; she’s definitely one of our most improved players.”
Colonnetta (5-10) gained valuable experience last year as a junior and is even better this year. She had a season-high 12 rebounds against Fort Worth Brewer in the Corsicana tournament.
“Colonnetta plays great defense and she just finds a way to make buckets on offense,” Preuss said.
Dugger, a 5-11 junior, has impressed Preuss with games scoring 15, 14 and 12 points during the first week of the season.
“Dugger brings a lot of athleticism to our team; she can do it all,” Preuss said. “She can post up, she can catch the ball at the 3-point line and drive to the basket, and she can steal the ball. She’s the most athletic player on our team and she has the ability to take over games.”
Kent is a 5-9 senior who has missed time due to injury early on.
“We’re counting on Kamryn to be one of our go-to players this year,” Preuss said.
Lindsey McCurdy was a first-team All-District selection last season as a junior, averaging 10 points and four assists per game, while leading the team with 63 three-pointers made.
“Lindsey brings a calm and confidence to the court,” Preuss said. “She really controls things and I feel at ease with her out there.”
MCurdy agrees with her head coach about the team’s prospects this season.
“Our goal this year is to go a lot further than the first round,” McCurdy said. “This year we are a lot more experienced team and we still start with a plan to do well in district to set up a good playoff run.”
Fellow senior guard Rachel Calabrese will also give the Lady Rebs an experienced player who started many games as a junior.
“If we need something done, Rachel’s going to get it done. She has a lot of determination and she’s a competitor,” Preuss said. “She can dish the ball, and if we need a basket, she’ll get it.”
Two sophomore guards Preuss is expecting a lot from are Karlie Schroeder and Alexis Delgado.
“Alexis is holding her own after being moved up to varsity and will only get better,” Preuss said. “Schroeder is just one of those players with a basketball mind. She will make a play around the basket like Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili and we all wonder how she did it. She’s going to be an exciting player to watch this year and for two more years after this season.”
Hays’ most exciting game so far this season came against Beaumont Westbrook in the Corsicana tournament, where Hays finished in the top four out of a group of 18 top Class 4A and Class 5A teams.
The Lady Rebs were trailing by 14 in the first half before trimming the gap to 27-21 at halftime.
Hays used the 3-point line to its advantage as Lexi Flores hit three, McCurdy made two, and Schroeder and Calabrese each made one from behind the stripe.
Calabrese’s 3-pointer from the left wing gave the Lady Rebels a 34-33 lead with four minutes to play.
Beaumont Westbrook’s coaches decided to have their players dribble out the final four minutes to get a last-second shot for the win. That shot clanged away and out of bounds as time expired to give Hays the win.
The Lady Rebs also posted wins over Fort Worth Brewer, Midlothian and Tyler Lee in the Corsicana tournament, and beat Elgin 68-39 earlier in the week in a regular season game.
The Lady Rebs will play host to San Marcos the Tuesday after Thanksgiving at Bales Gym, with tipoff coming at 7 p.m.
The 18-team Rebel Classic Tournament is Dec. 6-8, and Hays opens the regular season with cross-town rival Lehman Dec. 14, also at Bales.