Leland High School girls basketball head coach Patansy Miller-Hampton lost a number of valuable players to graduation last season — including former Delta Democrat-Times Player of the Year Shomaria Overton — but, as always, the Lady Cubs still have high expectations.
“We are very competitive, so we do not like to have rebuilding seasons,” Coach Miller-Hampton said. “Our expectations are the same as every year. We expect to win the district, win the region tournament, get back to Jackson and try to win the state title.”
The Lady Cubs begin their season Nov. 5 at Ruleville Central, and as she enters her ninth season at Leland, Coach Miller Hampton is just as excited as ever.
“We do not have a lot of stars like we did last year, but I still think we have what it takes to be a great team.”
The Leland coach said she has seen teams similar to her team this year make strong runs in the state tournament.
“In fact, the first time we went to Jackson it was the year after we lost a lot of our star players,” Coach Miller-Hampton said.
Led by captains Shomaria Overton and Corianna Wheatley the Cubs finished last season 29-2. That great success, however, was not just the result of the work of two players. It was done with the help of players like Camariyah Butler and Imani Campbell, who will be seniors this season.
“We are expecting Camariyah to have a great season,” Coach Miller-Hampton said. “She sees the court well and is a great outside shooter. She also plays excellent defense.”
Coach Miller-Hampton said there is nothing keeping Campell back either.
“Imani has learned to relax on the court and that has made her a better basketball player,” Coach Hampton-Miller said. “Imani has also learned how to use her height as an advantage on the court.”
Seniors Brinisha Brown, Recaria Jackson and Necaria Felston are also expected to take on bigger responsibilities for the Lady Cubs this season.
Freshman Madison Bush and sophomore Jakayla Beale look to lead a talented crop of newcomers on this years team.
“Basketball is a team sport. It takes an entire team to win championships, and we are going to be the best team that we can be,” Coach Miller-Hampton said.