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Lady Bears rebuilding for another good basketball season

Last year was a good campaign for Little Cypress Mauriceville in girls basketball. The Lady Bears will look to rebuild this season and still make the playoffs with a young group of players.

LCM finished in second place during district and completed last season with an excellent 28-10 record. The Lady Bears won their first playoff game before losing and being eliminated in the second round of the post season.

Lady Bear Coach Eddie Michalko was proud of the performance by his girls. "The girls played hard. We had a great number of seniors last year, so with graduation we're looking to rebuild this year a little bit," Michalko informed.

Only three Lady Bears return from last year's varsity. Two of those three were major contributors last season with the third returner expected to carry a bigger load this year.

Junior Keylie Washburn was a true impact player for Little Cypress Mauriceville as a sophomore. She led the Lady Bears in scoring and rebounding. Michalko expounded, "Keylie pretty much led us in every category. You name it she does it."

Back at a guard position is sophomore Eden Frenzel. She plays strong on defense and is a good play maker fitting in as the point guard for the Lady Bears.

The other Lady Bear that played on the varsity last year is Mallory Russell another sophomore who will be a forward. "Mallory's about 5-9 and very athletic. I'm looking forward to her really stepping up this year. If Mallory just realizes how good she could be, she's going to be something to deal with," Michalko indicated.

Michalko will use ten girls on the LCM varsity this season. That means he will have seven new faces on the Lady Bear varsity, all but two of which played on the junior varsity or freshmen teams last season.

The new group of varsity Lady Bears are very athletic and have very good skills with the basketball according to Michalko. Paisley Angelle is a sophomore and will be playing center despite her 5-7 stature. Junior Lindi Perry is 5-9 and will split time with Angelle at center.

Asia Woodson is a great athlete who can guard the post and can match up with the opponent's guards. Amaya Meadows is a sophomore like Woodson and is also athletic like Asia.

Sophomore Doniya Sibley plays guard very well. A newcomer to Little Cypress Mauriceville is Lucia Lopes-Montoto from Spain. Lucia is a sophomore who has done well in the early going.

One freshman who will see a lot of playing time on the LCM varsity is Kendall Jones who has stepped it up according to Coach Michalko. "I have ten Lady Bears that I feel are solid. We just have to learn to play together," Michalko responded.

Despite how young the Lady Bears are with no seniors on the varsity, they have started the new season well. Little Cypress Mauriceville won its first two games this year.

The opening game was on the road at Beaumont Legacy and was a victory for LCM. The second win also came on the road at Port Neches-Groves.

Defense has been the key for the Lady Bears in those two triumphs. Michalko elaborated, "We've played solid defense in both games. That's our strength right now. If we learn how to take care of the basketball and actually play offense together we could be dangerous down the line. One of the biggest differences this year on defense is the Lady Bears are not letting the opponents catch the ball. In the past some of our girls waited until the player they were covering caught it and then they played defense. Now, they're playing the passing lanes and stepping in."

The aggressive Little Cypress Mauriceville defense has resulted in a good number of turnovers by the opposition. "We score a few points off of it, but we get a lot of turnovers by just not letting the other team have the basketball," Michalko continued.

Several of the Lady Bears are still in transition from competing on the LCM volleyball team. Paisley Angelle, Eden Frenzel, Amaya Meadows, Lindi Perry, and Asia Woodson were all key players for the Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears during volleyball season and are now showing their athleticism by switching over to play basketball.

The Nederland tournament prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday break was a good test for the Lady Bears. Little Cypress Mauriceville as always faced some quality opponents in that tournament before the start of district.

Mixing the girls together as a team is one of the joys of coaching. Michalko explained, "It's going to take a little bit of time for them to get together because they're very young with two juniors, seven sophomores, and a freshman. It's a fun group and they are so smart. I don't have to worry about them in the classroom, that's just one thing I don't have worry about."

Michalko anticipates that District 19-4A in girls basketball will be extremely tough just like last year. "Every time you step on the floor you better be ready to play because anybody is capable of beating you. I'm not too worried about the wins or losses right now as long as we're going in the right direction. Our first game is a starting point. As far as my basketball career I've never worried about the early games, granted I want to win them all, but I know it's a learning process and a process to get to the point when you get to district that you're actually ready to play," Michalko concluded.


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