Successful, Busy Off-Season Wraps For Lady Longhorn Team

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A busy off-season that included tournaments, camps, open gym and practice sessions has wound down for Lady Longhorn basketball coach Grant Coley and his players.

"I'm looking forward to sitting back and watching volleyball," he said.

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Members of the Lady Longhorn summer basketball team are (front) Shelby Hill, Lana Cluff, Brittney McDaniel, Bailey Randall, Kayla Morgan Jenna Robertson, (back Christina Deaton, Janae Blalcok, Cydney Figueroa, Niki DeWees, Rose Hardt and Marquel Waterman.

"It's off-season and we (the basketball team) can't do anything until November."

Arizona Interscholastic Association guidelines restrict the time coaches can spend with their players, when other regular season prep sports are under way.

The summer season ended July 19 and 20 at the 21st Annual San Diego Classic played in various venues around the Southern California beach city.

During the hardwood fray, which drew 376 teams from around the country, the Lady Longhorns finished with a 3-3 record while competing in the 2A bracket against mostly California teams.

The Lady Horns beat Sacred Heart, Los Alamos and Phoenix Desert Mountain but lost to Oxnard, JCBS and Hart, all California schools.

Coley points to the tournament as an outlet that allowed the players the opportunity to compete against others they would not see during the course of the regular season and also a giant step toward building the teamwork necessary for a future run at postseason honors."

"It (the tournament) was good for camaraderie," he said. "We not only played (basketball), we went to the beach and we were able to learn a lot about the sport and one another."

During the tournament, the team called upon a new offense it is expected to showcase during the 2007-2008 season.

"It's a new wrinkle for us that includes lots of motion; Stanford runs it," Coley said.

While the "O" underwent some changes, the team's defensive philosophy of playing mostly man-to-man, remained the same.

"I don't like to play much zone," Coley said.

The team did rely on half and full court pressure defenses especially in the win over Sacred Heart.

"We pressed them a lot," Coley said.

When the Lady Horns were on defense, the coach used a mix-and-match scheme in which Kayla Morgan played the post and Jenna Robertson took over as guard.

On offense, their roles reversed with Morgan playing guard and Robertson holding down the post slot.

Both players drew plaudits from Coley for their spirited play in San Diego.

"They did well; both were team leaders," he said.

Also earning praise was the Lady Horns tallest player, 6-foot, 2-inch Christina Deaton, who last year was the East region's leading shot blocker.

In all, 12-varsity hopefuls -- most of them 2006-2007 letter winners -- made the trip to California.

At Gonzaga

Also during the off-season, the Lady Longhorns traveled June 26-29 to near Spokane, Wash, where they participated in the Lady Bulldog basketball camp.

In team play during the camp, Payson compiled an 8-1 record losing only to Toansket, Wash.

In addition to the standout showing in team play, the Lady Horns won an unusually formatted "Crunch Time" skirmish, in which tournament teams played each other for one minute only.

The point leader at the end of the minute was declared the winner.

Also in the camp's free-throw championships, Shawna Davis won the title, cashing in on 16 consecutive attempts.

With the off-season basketball campaign at an end, many of the players will now turn their attention to the fall sports of volleyball, soccer and cross country.

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