Special to The Sun
The Edmond Memorial girls basketball team lost some key players from last year’s state runner-up squad, but the cupboard is not bare.
Head coach Dandy Peeler expects some growing pains from her young team early in the year. But come March, she expects the Lady Bulldogs will again be pressing for their first ever state title.
“We’re young and we’ll make some youth mistakes, but we’ll also hustle and work hard,” she said. “And I think we’ll be a contender for a state title again.”
The Lady ’Dogs lost to rival Santa Fe in last year’s Edlam state championship.
Memorial graduated seven seniors and will have to replace its top three scorers from a year ago, including Alie Decker, who is now playing at Wichita State. The top candidates will be sophomore standouts Jenny Roy and Andee Decker.
Roy averaged 7 points per game as a freshman and is already attracting attention from college coaches. Decker scored 4 points per game a year ago.
Senior guard Kaleigh Troxell will also step into a starting role this season.
Memorial’s talented freshmen class could also produce some varsity players. Maddie Huelskamp and Paige Serup should both see playing time this year.
“Paige is going to be a very good point guard and Maddie is a strong outside shooter,” Peeler said. “They both played well in the scrimmages and believe they can make the transition this year.”
Along with developing their young players, Peeler said team needs to improve its inside game.
“One of our weaknesses will be our inside game,” Peeler said. “We have some size with our younger girls so we’ll see how well they can handle the pressure.
“We have to play to our roles. We may get down, but we don’t want to lose focus. We’ll see more close games, and we’ll need to make free throws. Those are game breakers for us.”
Peeler said Memorial won’t be the only young team in the Mid-State Conference this year. Several of the top teams lost a lot of seniors from a year ago.
“That’s what helps me feel better about our young group is a lot of other teams are in that rebuilding mode too,” Peeler said.
Memorial opens the season on the road Tuesday at Moore. Their first home game is Dec. 4 against Westmoore, with the Edmond Open Tournament to follow Dec. 6-8. The Lady Bulldogs will host Santa Fe and visit North the week of Dec. 17, and will journey to the Ada Tournament first week January.