MATHISTON – Having a so called "sophomore slump," is something the East Webster girls' basketball team is not counting on.
After losing to Bay Springs in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs last season, the Lady Wolverines enter the 2012 campaign with high spirits.
"We obviously have some high expectations after how we finished last year," East Webster head coach Mandy Jewell said. "I talked to them about how we need to pick up where we left off last. A lot of times we start off in a slump and we just don't need to do that this year. We are just taking it one game at a time."
A big reason for last year's success was freshman Quantesha Patterson. This year as a sophomore she is expected to have a really good season.
She was able to score a great amount of points last season. This offseason, Jewell has worked with her on defense and has made sure that Patterson is working hard every day and not expecting things to be easy.
"She and I have talked a good bit," Jewell said. "She had such a good season last year. She probably averaged close to 25 points per game. She couldn't go into it thinking that she didn't have to work hard and that she had to get better. We have really worked on her defense. She has gotten better and she has gotten a lot stronger."
Patterson is not the only option Jewell has. Seniors Jada Washington and Katesa Dear were big contributors last season. They will also have a bigger role this season.
The Lady Wolverines have a great amount of depth this season. They had a good bit of depth last season, but Jewell sees more depth this season.
"We have a lot of depth that we didn't have last year," Jewell said. "The 10th graders were 9th graders last year, (and) got a lot more experience last year. Coming off the bench, they should really be able to help us out."
Jewell was not shy to sub in five fresh players last season at anytime. That hasn't changed this season.
"That is still our gameplan," Jewell said. "After the first five, there is really not anyone better than the other."
Defensively, the Lady Wolverines will play it by ear. East Webster had a tendency to press some last year. This year that will still be possible if opposing offenses have trouble handling the ball.
"It just depends on who we're playing," Jewell said. "If I don't think they can handle the ball we are definitely going to go down and press full court. We have some other defenses that we have thrown in there this year."