Lady Storm impress in first preseason scrimmage

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan, The Messenger

Hopkins County Central sophomore Keke Ikeard dribbles the ball downcourt during Saturday’s preseason scrimmage against Hancock County.

GREENVILLE — Going into Saturday’s preseason scrimmage against Hancock County, Hopkins County Central girls’ basketball coach Todd Webb wasn’t sure what he was going to see from his team.

But ultimately, the Lady Storm showed Webb just what they’re made of, outscoring the Lady Hornets 84-59 in six quarters of scrimmaging.

“Being completely honest, I was worried coming into today,” Webb said. “The last couple days, like Storm Chaos, our last practice, I didn’t feel like we had great effort. (This scrimmage), the effort was outstanding.”

Central got off to a slow start, being outscored in the first two quarters of the scrimmage 21-14.

But the Lady Storm started to show signs of life late in the second quarter, going on a 4-0 run to end the quarter after being outscored 12-3 through the rest of it.

That momentum carried over into the third quarter, as Central’s signature press defense started to take effect, allowing the team to start the quarter on a 6-0 run and outscore Hancock 17-11.

But Central really showed its dominance in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Hornets 20-5 for what would have been a 51-37 at the end of a regulation game. The Lady Storm outscored Hancock 33-22 in the last two quarters of varsity play.

“We just constantly applied pressure until they finally broke,” Webb said. “I thought our press looked really good, did a good job playing up-tempo, finding each other, really sharing the basketball, and like I said, the effort was just outstanding.”

Several players saw an increase in their roles for the first time since the graduation of Lyric Campbell, Makayla Campbell and Keyasia Combs, but Webb said they all responded well to the changes.

“Every one of them that we put in that varsity game impressed me at some point,” Webb said. “(Sophomore Gabriella Baxter), her defense is getting a whole lot better, (junior Taylor Moore), she knocked down some big shots out there, (senior Rickara Hughes) just keeps getting better on the defensive end, her offense is getting better, (sophomore Keke Ikeard) has been a good leader for us, (senior TaLana Hardy) has been scrappy. We’ve got a lot of players that really stepped up their roles collectively.”

Four of the team’s five starting spots are currently locked up by Hardy, Hughes, Ikeard and Brittney Medlen, but the fifth starting spot is still a mystery.

Baxter took that fifth spot on Saturday, but while Webb complimented her play, he said the roster spot is far from finalized.

“It’s in flux,” Webb said. “Tay’s been in that spot, Gabby’s been in that spot, (sophomore Keira James) has been in that spot. It’s still up for grabs, it’s not decided yet. We may change it all year long.”

The Lady Storm’s next preseason game is scheduled for next Saturday, when they face Warren Central as a part of Central’s Preseason Jamboree.

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