The Robert E. Lee girls basketball team sped up and down the floor last year, using pressure defense and quick offense as it attempted to overwhelm and tire out its opponents.
Is coach Lloyd Mahaffey going to employ more of a half-court style with a more experienced team coming back?
Quite the opposite.
“No, I actually I am hoping to be more athletic and more run-and-gun than we were last year,” said Mahaffey, who begins his third season at the helm of the Lady Raiders.
“We’ll work some offensive sets, and they’ve done a better job with that, but to be honest, I want to get the ball up and down the floor and run people out of the gym if I can.”
Mahaffey and the Lady Raiders will get their first chance to do that tonight in their season opener against Jacksonville. The game is slated to tip-off at 6:15 p.m. at REL Varsity Gymnasium.
The player responsible for piloting REL’s fast-paced attack is junior point guard Tree Brooks, who begins her third season on the varsity and second at the point. Last year, Brooks averaged 9.1 points per game while dishing out 110 assists and leading the team in steals with 67.
Mahaffey believes Brooks will do even more this season.
“I really feel like she’s in great shape right now,” Mahaffey said. “She likes to push the ball up and down the floor and right now she’s shooting better than I’ve ever seen her shoot.”
Outside shooting was a struggle for the Lady Raiders last season with REL making just 20 of 161 attempts. Mahaffey said Brooks and returners Shreece Pryor and Dominique Thomas have already been showing off their 3-point shooting in practice and scrimmages.
Returning guards Berjae Lewis, Alex Thorne and Alexia Hawkins all saw varsity playing time last year with Lewis, a junior who played in all but one contest and averaged 7.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Pryor and fellow senior Emem David are both four-year varsity lettermen. Pryor does most of her work on the defensive end of the floor, averaging almost two steals per game while David is REL’s inside presence. The 6-0 forward/post averaged 6.6 points and six rebounds per game last season to go with 1.3 steals per contest.
Also on the inside are returning starters DaJah Thompson and Dominique Thomas. Both seniors, Thompson and Thomas averaged right at seven points per game with Thompson also grabbing 7.1 rebounds per contest. Thomas was third on the team in offensive rebounds.
Mahaffey said Erin Brinkley also will be expected to fill a role in the paint after the 6-1 sophomore played mainly guard last season. Mahaffey said junior Faythe Guillory, a transfer from Palestine, is expected to provide even more athleticism to an already run-and-gun squad.
Lee’s schedule features non-district clashes with Hallsville (Nov. 12), McKinney North (Nov. 15), Texas High and John Tyler, while also competing in the Winnsboro Tournament (Dec. 5-7) and the Bishop Gorman tournament (Dec. 26-28). REL’s first 12-5A game is Dec. 12 away to North Mesquite.
“I am looking for continuity,” Mahaffey said. “I am looking for our girls to go into the district season knowing what we’re going to do, what kind of team we are; knowing their role and be comfortable with what we do.”
Robert E. Lee Lady Raiders
Coach: Lloyd Mahaffey
2012-13 record: 14-19 (4-8 District 12-5A)
Last playoff appearance: 2012
2013 Varsity Roster: 2-Shreece Pryor (5-5, Sr.), 3-Alex Thorne (5-5, Jr.), 4-Janessa Hall (5-4, Sr.), 5-Dominique Thomas (6-0, Sr.), 10-Tree Brooks (6-0, Sr.), 11-Breann Daniels (5-5, Sr.), 12-DaJah Thompson (6-0, Sr.), 14-Alexia Hawkins (5-10, Soph.), 15-Erin Brinkley (6-1, Soph.), 20-Emem David (6-0, Sr.), 21 Faythe Guillory (5-8, Jr.), 22-Olivia Eweni (5-10, Jr.), 23-Betty Allen (5-6, Soph.), 24-Berjae Lewis (5-9, Jr.).
Coaches: John Haft, Rachel Brown, Shun McGill
2013-14 Robert E. Lee Lady Raiders Basketball Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Nov. 5 Jacksonville 6:15
Nov. 12 at Hallsville 8:00
Nov. 15 McKinney North 6:00
Nov. 19 Texas High 6:00
Nov. 22 Lufkin 6:30
Nov. 25 at Winnsboro 1:00
Nov. 26 vs. John Tyler (at TJC) noon
Dec. 3 at Rusk 6:30
Dec. 5-7 Winnsboro Tournament TBA
Dec. 9 at Paris 6:30
Dec. 13 at North Mesquite* 7:00
Dec. 20 Rockwall* 7:00
Dec. 26-28 Bishop Gorman Tournament TBA
Jan. 2 at Mesquite* 3:30
Jan. 4 Longview* 3:30
Jan. 7 at Mesquite Horn* 7:00
Jan. 10 Rockwall-Heath* 7:00
Jan. 17 North Mesquite* 7:00
Jan. 21 at Rockwall* 7:00
Jan. 24 Mesquite* 7:00
Jan. 28 at Longview* 7:00
Jan. 31 Mesquite Horn* 7:00
Feb. 4 at Rockwall-Heath* 7:00
# — District 12-5A game