It may be difficult to post a better record than the 25-2 mark they put up last year, but the Stone High girls’ basketball team can certainly improve on what was an amazing season.
“I’ve told the girls I want to go further in the playoffs, I want to go to Jackson,” said coach Sam Smith.
The 2018-19 version of the Lady ’Cats strung together 23 straight victories last season before falling to D’Iberville in the regular-season finale.
They then defeated Long Beach and West Harrison in the Region 8-5A tournament before falling to Wayne County in the first round of the MHSAA playoffs.
The Lady ’Cats graduated Layla Hill and Jaleah Armstrong from that team, but return Hayleigh Breland, Marie Moye, Christian Fairley and Reina Hartfield. All four were significant contributors to last season’s success.
In fact, those four scored all of Stone’s points in a 47-37 victory over Pass Christian in last Saturday’s Gulfport Classic.
Breland scored 15, Hartfield and Fairley each contributed 12 and Moye tallied eight.
Miller was impressed with the effort, in which his team made 27 rebounds and 12 steals, but not overly impressed.
“We also made 21 turnovers and that will eat your lunch against better teams,” he said.
It stands to reason the Lady ’Cats should be the favorite in Region 7-4A.
Smith, in his 33rd year of coaching, may very well have the best backcourt in the state in Breland and Moye.
Add Hartfield and Fairley to the mix, with Yazmine Bradford in good health and Breonna Huddleston healing fast, and Stone’s going to be tough to beat.
They will warm up for regional play with bigger schools.
“We scheduled a lot of 6-A schools,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a tough November.”