Sports: New challenges on the court
The weather’s turned nasty and the Christmas lights have been put up. That means it’s time to head indoors for sporting action.
Girls basketball teams across England are hoping to make their mark this season despite a revamped scheduling format that will create tougher match-ups for smaller schools.
A brief synopsis of the three United Kingdom girls basketball teams follows:
Alconbury Lady DragonsThe Lady Dragons figure to have one of the toughest schedules in recent memory, thanks to a change that will see teams play more games against regional foes than teams within the same division.
But head coach Mark Dix is still confident his squad can stay competitive.
“Nothing is going to be easy, but we are going to fight to stay competitive,” Dix said.
The team opened the season with a five-point win against Hillingdon, a British school, before taking on SHAPE in a doubleheader last weekend. Alconbury dropped both games to SHAPE, 45-6 in the first and 46-7 in the second.
A pair of juniors will lead the Lady Dragons this season. Center/forward Caitlin Stewart started the season strong with an 18-point, 12-rebound, five-steal performance against Hillingdon.
“She can see the floor and play pretty tough,” Dix said of Stewart. “She has some natural skill and good body strength and knows how to get up and down the floor.”
Lakenheath Lady LancersLakenheath opened the season this past weekend with two close wins at home against Brussels. The final scores were 31-30 in the first game and 35-33 in the second.
Guards Tekeia Wallace and Alex Hampton proved instrumental in helping the Lady Lancers open the season on a strong note. Emily Clifton and Erica Turner also turned strong performances in the season opening doubleheader.
But the Lady Lancers are a young team that will have to grow up quickly this season to stay competitive with the Germany-based Division I foes.
“We have three returning starters from last year and one other varsity player but everyone else is coming up from JV or new,” head coach Janis Ready wrote to Stars and Stripes in an e-mail.
“I’m encouraged by our early workouts. We have a lot to learn both in fundamentals and team play but the girls are excited and working hard, and it’s a good place to start.”
The Lady Lancers travel to the International School of Brussels this weekend.
Menwith Hill Lady MustangsThe Lady Mustangs started the season with two tough losses to the ISB. The squad fell to ISB by nine points on Friday, but played a closer game on Saturday before falling 25-19.
Lady Mustang Kim Shelton led the team with six points on Friday and dropped in another 13 on Saturday.
Stars and Stripes was unable to reach the coach last week for comment.