It is that time of year again: basketball season. After last year’s loss to Eastern in the semi-finals of the regional tournament, the Manual girls’ basketball team is looking to win the region and continue on to the state tournament, where they will strive to finish strong and take home the championship.
Last year, the Lady Crimsons relied primarily on a high powered offense that was set up to score; however, this year’s team will look to be a bit more sound on defense and will attempt to wear opponents down in the fast break.
“We’ve worked in the preseason so far trying to play faster in transition and score more points of off the break,” Sparks said. “We are also looking to amp up the defensive pressure.”
Last year’s Lady Crimsons often struggled to share the ball. Too common were isolation plays and taking people one-on-one: two major factors in the team’s untimely exit. Manual seeks to change that this year.
“As a team, we need to stick together,” Tyonne Howard (10, #12) said. “Put ‘we’ over ‘me’ through it all.”
Manual does have two key returning assets from last year’s team. Tonysha Curry (11, #23) was named Seventh Region player of the year last season, averaging 11.9 points per game. Krys McCune (12, #55), a West Virginia signee, averaged nine points per game and now looks to take on a more prominent leadership role this season.
“I definitely have to step it up more and lead by example,” McCune said.
With many talented teams across the region, the Lady Crimsons’ road to state will be more difficult than ever before.
“This year, the region is very competitive–it’s loaded every year,” Sparks said. “Male, Eastern, Sacred Heart, Christian Academy, Assumption–there are a lot of good teams this year, and we think we are one of them.”
Stay tuned to Manual RedEye for all of the girls’ basketball coverage for the 2015-2016 season. The Lady Crimsons’ first game will be at Waggener on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.