Lady Eagles’ depth = dominance
By: SCOTT JOINER
Young Lady Eagles have the talent to reach Ruston
In the past, it took a fairly simple game plan to deal with the Central Catholic girls basketball team.
Contain standout guard Meo Knight and you had a chance.
Opposing coaches have a much bigger dilemma this season with the Lady Eagles adding two transfers in sophomores Randi Brown and Makayla McDaniel.
Brown has stepped into the starting line up and leads the team in scoring and takes some of the pressure off Knight.
McDaniel can run the offense at point guard with her smooth skills with the ball and she also has the potential to put up double figures and usually leads the team in assists.
Those three along with returning starters Geralyn Garrett and Brie Hill combine to form a tough starting five.
“We’ve found that it takes a lot of pressure off of (Meo),” CCHS coach Kindra Halverson said. “It’s helped her relax. She always plays a relaxed game, but now she doesn’t have to bring the ball down and can focus on other things. Makayla is our point guard and Randi is the other shooting guard, it just makes everyone’s job easier.”
Knight, Brown and McDaniel all play AAU basketball year round. That experience, combined with most of the roster being battle-tested from volleyball season, makes the Lady Eagles a scrappy group to deal with.
“They play competitive AAU, they play year round,” Halverson said. “They’re all three very experienced and knowledgeable players. It helps the other girls with practice and everything, they’re all willing to learn and listen.”
Knight isn’t the only player who has seen their role on the team change. Last season, Garrett and Hill were the second and third scoring options, but this season they serve as a formidable tandem in the paint pulling down rebounds and fighting for loose balls.
“(Gee and Brie) are the big men now down there getting rebounds and fighting for them every game,” Halverson said. “I think in the last few games, Gee has had 10 plus rebounds — she’s really fitting into the forward spot well.”
In Class 1A it’s a luxury to have the kind of depth CCHS is blessed with and Knight knows she’s in a better position than in the past.
“It’s been a real big help to have Randi help out with scoring, rebounding, passing,” Knight said. “We have everybody. We have a first five and a second five coming in strong, too.”
CCHS has been good in the past, but with Brown and McDaniel accepted into the group, they have a chance to go deep in the playoffs after losing in the first round last season.
Fluid movement, unselfish passing and a tenacious approach to defense has the Lady Eagles poised for big things.
“The team chemistry is really good,” Brown said. “Everybody works as a team and plays as a team.”
The Lady Eagles are 17-2 with the losses coming to St. Charles, Class 3A’s defending state champions, and Class 4A St. Thomas More.
The dominant run of play has earned CCHS the No. 6 spot in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association poll and tonight’s opponent, Vermilion Catholic, is No. 3.
The Lady Eagles can move up in the polls with a win, which would set up a huge regular season finale at VCHS on Feb. 13.
“They have a few big posts and the fast guards they had last year,” Halverson said. “It’s going to be an all around competitive game. We’ve been looking forward to it all season.”
Tip off is set for 5:30 p.m. sharp with no junior varsity games being played tonight.
“It’s going to be a good game, we’re just going to come out and play hard,” Knight said.