By Jeff Harrison
The Del City High School girls basketball team took some hits with graduation this spring.
But they still have plenty left for a big run this season.
“We just need to focus on us as a whole and we’ll be pretty good and surprise some people,” said coach Kari Sears.
The Lady Eagles will rely on their athleticism, up-tempo offense and improved defense.
“We’re really going to try and run and gun and hit teams with pressure defense,” Sears said. “And with our lack of size, we’ll need to rebound and force teams to shoot low percentage jump shots.”
The Lady Eagles will be led by seniors Laderia Lorne, Aubri Freeman and Jade Dockins, junior Alexi Pogue and sophomore Brayanna Polk.
Lorne is the team’s top returning scorer, after averaging 8 points per game as a junior. She finished in double digit scoring 12 times last year, while hitting 32 3-pointers.
Freeman is another strong scorer, who averaged 7 points per game last year. And the 5-foot-9 Dockins will anchor the defense and fill big shoes left by Ossyana Ozoani, who is now playing at Mid-America Christian University.
Polk will start at point guard following an impressive freshman season. She averaged six points per game last year and hit 20 3-pointers.
Pogue will move into the starting lineup this year, after seeing limited varsity minutes last year. The athletic junior also helped the Lady Eagles track team win back-to-back state title last year. She finished state runner-up in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles.
The Del City girls are hoping to return to the state tournament after missing out last year. A Big 10 Conference schedule that includes some strong larger schools will have them ready for the postseason.
Defending state champion Choctaw and Putnam City West are the top ranked schools in the Class 6A coach’s poll this week. Midwest City is looking to bounce back with a mix of upperclassmen and talented freshmen. Lawton Eisenhower will try to build off a Class 5A state tournament appearance last year.
“We’re on the smaller schools in our conference and that helps get ready for the playoffs,” Sears said. “We made state a couple years ago and just missed it last year.”
The No. 14 Lady Eagles open the season at home tonight against top-ranked Choctaw at 6 p.m.