Lady Eagles hope to build on last season’s playoff success
Katrina Howell takes over the reigns this season in her first varsity head coaching job after being an assistant under last year’s head coach Virginia Beard.
Beard replaced Tashia Terry who left the district prior to the 2010-11 school year.
Terry had been the Lady Eagles’ head coach for the two seasons prior to that.
Howell was also an assistant volleyball coach last season and has been the head cross country coach this year.
The Turpin, Oklahoma native has taught in Milano for four years and has three children. She had six years of coaching appearance prior to coming to MISD.
Howell earned a bachelor of science in education in 1993 from Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where she also played basketball.
The Milano’s girls basketball program hadn’t been in the postseason in 11 years when they advanced to the bi-district round last season.
They lost there to Shiner 38-36, ending the Lady Eagles’ season.
The co-district championship they shared with Thrall was the first piece of league hardware for the Lady Eagles since 1992 when the team won the district title.
“Our biggest challenge will be for our young kids to gain confidence at the varsity level. Kids seem to have an excitement about the game,” Howell said. “A brand new group learning a new system will be difficult, but the hustle and desire seems to be shared with all the members of the team.”
The Lady Eagles return two starters from last year’s squad in sophomore Kelly Wadlington and junior Raighley Shaw.
Wadlington was the district’s co-newcomer of the year in 2010 and Shaw was a first team pick.
Other key returnees include junior Stonie Guthrie and senior Ly ndsie Gray. Both received honorable mention all- district recognition last season. Howell said top newcomer is sophomore Elizabeth Holt.
Rounding out Milano’s varsity roster are senior Elizabeth Bradshaw, junior Hayleigh Lagrone and sophomore Emily Overall.
Milano lost four seniors to graduation off last year’s squad. That included Ashleigh Dykes, Masey Turnage, Allison Dodd and Brittany Bullock.
Dykes, now playing basketball at Iowa City Lakes College and the top scorer for Milano last season, and Turnage were first team all-district picks. Dodd was a second team selection.
The quickness lost by those seniors graduating was key to Milano making the post-season. Howell thinks this year’s squad is capable of making up the difference.
“We have quick posts that need to develop and that will come with more playing time. The kids are good at the fast break system that was developed last year,” she said. “We just need to get better at reading each other and that comes with more time in the gym.”
Milano looks to battle for a playoff position in District 27A Division I, where it was co-champion last year with Thrall.
The Tigerettes are picked to win the league championship again this season with Holland also in the mix. Bartlett and Granger round out the district.
“Success from last season has carried over and has made the returners excited about this season,” Howell said.
Milano moved to 2-1 on the young season with a 33-29 win over Brazos Christian on Nov. 22 at Geneva Paceley Gym.
Wadlington led the team with 14 points, two steals and one assist. Holt followed with six points and two rebounds.
Guthrie led the team in rebounds with 11, five points and three steals. Shaw led the team in steals with four.
The Lady Eagles had an open date on Tuesday night and will gear up to play in this weekend’s A nderson- Shiro tournament Thursday and Saturday.
It will be the first of three tournaments in the month for Milano. The team will host Burton on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
LADY EAGLE FILE
Coach: Katrina Howell (1st season) 2011 record: 12-16 District record: 8-1 (co-champs) Returning starters: So. Kelly Wadlington, Jr. Raighley Shaw. Key losses: Ashleigh Dykes, Masey Turnage, Allison Dodd. Key returnees: Jr. Stonie Guthrie Top newcomer: So. Elizabeth Holt District outlook: 3rd Last playoff appearance: 2011 Last district championship: 2011
LADY EAGLE ROSTER