Rebuilding not just a buzz word for Lady Dogs in ‘13
THORNDALE—If there was ever a team that truly meant “rebuilding” year for the Thorndale Lady Dogs, this might be one. But forget the fact that only two of the girls on this year’s varsity roster were on the varsity roster at this point in 2012—this year’s Lady Dogs are hungry and ready to compete.
“ The biggest di f ference between last season and this season is last season we had nine players coming back from a 2A regional final team. This year we have two players that even suited up last year,” Lady Dogs head coach Bradley Dickerson said. “That happens from time to time when you have a really good senior class graduate. It doesn’t mean you don’t have good players ready to step in, it just means that it takes a little more time than when you have a bunch of veterans coming back. Practice and game experience is the only remedy.”
Those two that had suited up are senior Kamryn Holder and junior Shelbi Schneider. Dickerson is also looking for good things from seniors Skyler Sumner and Madison Kropp, juniors Sydney Brevard and Cheyenne McWilliams, sophomores Emily Garza, Jordan Schramm and Savannah Garcia, along with freshman Kali Carter.
The Thorndale Lady Dogs have been stopped just one step shy of the state tournament for the past two seasons—as a Class 2A team in 2012 and a Class A team in 2013. The regional final last season was a 40-39 loss to Snook.
Thorndale has made it to the regional finals four other times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012) and was state semifinalist in 2008, the only state tourney appearance for the girls program in school history.
That must be why pollsters have them ranked at No. 11 in the Texas High School Basketball Coaches Associations Class A Division I poll.
“ Our biggest chal lenge is getting everyone on the same page,” Dickerson, who is in his 14th year at the helm of the Lady Dogs program, said. “Lots more will be thrown at them on the varsity and there’s a pretty big learning curve. Lots of practice and game experience is the only thing to get us where we want to be.”
Key losses from last year’s squad were mainly due to graduation. Those graduated seniors were Olivia Atkins, Marlene Hal l, Heather But terwor th, Kristen Butterworth, Tamicka Cook, Iris Leyendecker, Charity Tatroe, Lizzie Marr and Shelby Pausewang.
Also gone is now senior Alix Hoffman, who has since transferred to Rockdale.
Atkins was a first team allstate selection last season and the district most valuable player. She averaged 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for the Lady Dogs last season.
Cook was tagged the district Offensive MVP. Leyendecker, Hoffman and Heather Butterworth were first team all- district selections, wtih Kristen Butterworth named to the second team. Marr, Pausewang, Tatroe and Hall were named honorable mention.
Thorndale has not missed the post season since 2003, so this year’s seniors have seen the Lady Dog program’s success since they were in the first grade.
“Being in the playoffs so much makes it an expectation. We expect to be in the playoffs. That’s Thorndale in everything,” Dickerson said. “Our number one goal is to be in the playoffs. Next, we want to win a district championship.”
Numbers are down a little this year for the Lady Dogs’ high school program, but Dickerson sees things growing.
“Numbers are a little down because we lost nine and gained four. We are about five kids fewer than usual, but still have two sub-varsity teams. With nearly 20 eighth graders, we will have more next year,” Dickerson said.
The team will take a break during the Thanksgiving weekend, but then travel to Schulenburg on Tuesday and be in the Granger Tournament next weekend.