Tonight marks the start of the girls’ basketball season across the state, with the boys’ seasons beginning next week.
Denton plays Keller Central tonight at 7 p.m. in the area’s first game of the season.
Ryan opens at home against McKinney Boyd on Tuesday night, while Guyer will open at the Denton Guyer Shootout on Thursday. The Lady Wildcats were scheduled to open the season Tuesday, but North Dallas was forced to cancel after being unable to field a team.
The Lady Broncos are looking to build on last season, when they won 20 games for the first time since 2006 but missed the playoffs after losing eight of their last 11 games.
Ryan moves up to Class 5A and will see returning senior Teana Ogden, who tore her ACL in Ryan’s first-round playoff loss to Amarillo Palo Duro last season.
Guyer graduated six seniors from last year’s team that reached the playoffs for the third time in the school’s history.
The Lady Wildcats lost Jasmine Leday and star guard Jasmine Taylor, whosigned to play at Louisiana-Monroe. Senior Bre Clay-Baker is Guyer’s top returner.
Taylor, along with Jacoiya Brown, helped lead Denton to their best season in six years. The Lady Broncos have lost 75 percent of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s squad, Denton head coach Dennis Krishka said.
“We may take a few lumps in the beginning, but as the leadership and the learning curve comes together, we hope to be pretty solid by the time district rolls around,” Krishka said.
Krishka said his team is very balanced but young, with only three seniors on the roster. Seniors Leandra Johnson and Myeshia Taylor and juniors April Pena and Mariah Seastrunk will be asked to provide the leadership.
When District 5-4A play does come, Denton will find itself playing Guyer for the first time in three years. The Lady Wildcats went 26-9 last season, losing in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs to Flower Mound Marcus.
Besides Clay-Baker, Guyer returns only one other senior — Katy Davis. Clay-Baker tore an ACL early last season and missed the remainder of the season, leaving a void in the starting rotation.
“Having her out was definitely limiting a little bit because she was always a person we counted on to slash and cut and break down defenses,” Guyer head coach Harold Colson said. “Once she went down, we missed her and that showed in the playoffs.”
As the team drops to Class 4A, Colson’s roster will have players without experience at the varsity level and will try to groom the underclassmen before the start of district play.
“Even though we’re in a new district and dropping down, it’s going not going to be ho-hum. It still going to be a challenge,” Colson said.
As Guyer drops down in class, Ryan goes up to 5A. The Lady Raiders won its second straight District 4-4A title last season and, like Guyer, regains one of its best players with Ogden coming back after her knee injury.
Joining last year’s 4-4A MVP are fellow seniors Danielle Richardson and Jeffryonna Holley.
Ryan head coach Monesha Allen said there aren’t added nerves in moving up to 5A. Allen added that this year’s squad is more balanced than the Ryan team that was in 5A a few years ago.
“I have some kids that are very talented and very athletic,” Allen said. “That’s why I fuss about the details. If they could get those details right, they’d be much more productive on the court.”
Allen’s situation is something Krishka and Colson will undoubtedly face as well in a season filled with unique challenges.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .