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Hawks look to take subsequent step and grow to be state title contenders

MORGANTOWN – The College Excessive College ladies’ basketball crew is aware of the adage that to be the most effective it’s important to beat the most effective.

The Hawks went 16-8 final yr with 4 of these losses coming by the hands of perennial powers Wheeling Park and Morgantown.

Head coach Nick Lusk, now in his third season, mentioned his crew is aware of what it must do to compete with these prime groups.

“Now we have a very good group that competes on a regular basis in observe,” Lusk mentioned. “We’re going to play a troublesome schedule with 4 of our first six video games in opposition to defending state champs or runner ups.”

In actual fact, the Hawks open on Dec. 6 after they host defending Class AAAA champ MHS at 7:30 p.m.

Final yr, UHS dropped two common season contests by a mixed eight factors to the Mohigans earlier than MHS grabbed a decisive 49-29 win within the regional semifinals.

This yr, Lusk and his crew of 10 members want to take the subsequent step with a visit to Charleston.

“I really feel assured with our group of women,” Lusk mentioned.

There’s loads of the reason why as he returns a pair of seniors together with six different gamers who noticed varsity time final season.

Senior Ella Simpson was a primary crew all-state honoree final yr and is again together with senior Ashlyn Weaver. They’ll present management and stability with Simpson anticipated to shoulder a lot of the scoring load once more this yr.

“I feel for us it’s a massive psychological recreation,” Simpson mentioned of knocking off the highest groups on their schedule. “Now we have to enter these video games and know we’re prepared for it. If we go into the sport with a mindset that we are able to do it, that we’re ready, that can assist.”

Simpson has signed to play subsequent yr on the College of Rio Grande and she or he mentioned she is hoping to finish her highschool profession with a visit to Charleston.

“I’ve labored much more on simply being a real capturing guard,” Simpson mentioned. “We clearly usually are not massive, and I’ve been taking part in out of place – taking part in the 4 and the 5. I’ve tried to develop my recreation with outdoors capturing and ball dealing with.”

That work ought to assist Simpson take smaller guards to the publish but additionally enable her to take greater guards to the basket along with her ball dealing with and pace.

Lusk mentioned Weaver is the emotional chief of the Hawks and she or he has labored laborious within the weight room whereas doing the little issues that it takes for a crew to win.

“I really feel actually assured with the leaders we now have on this crew,” Lusk mentioned.

Weaver mentioned she is hoping her senior yr may also finish with a protracted match run after the Hawks gained sectionals final yr earlier than shedding within the regional spherical.

“We acquired neglected quite a bit final yr,” Weaver mentioned. “That final recreation in opposition to Morgantown wasn’t shut, however I feel we’re going to show some folks mistaken this season.”

Additionally again this season is junior level guard Julia Maisel and junior ahead/heart Lexi Simpson. Sophomore Bri Fox ought to see extra time on the courtroom as will juniors Alexa Johnson and Maddie Antonini. Freshman Riley Braham, a 5-foot-11 publish participant, is anticipated so as to add some dimension to a UHS crew that desperately wants it.

With the shortage of top, the Hawks will play a strain protection that can hopefully power turnovers and permit them to play a transition offense.

“We’re going to must strain,” Lusk mentioned. “Final yr once we acquired in transition, we scored. We form of struggled within the halfcourt. I nonetheless suppose we’re a transition crew. We wish to get out and push it.”

UHS opens with MHS earlier than internet hosting its personal BFS tipoff traditional. The Hawks additionally will journey to Myrtle Seashore this season to play within the Seashore Ball Traditional.

By ERIC HERTER