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Looking for three-peat

Friday, November 17, 2006

(Photo)
Pictured are Kelly varsity and junior varsity basketball teams for the 2006-07 season.
BENTON - The Kelly Lady Hawks basketball team will look to continue building their solid program in a new district for the 2006-07 season.

Kelly will move over to Class 3, District 1 with the likes of Caruthersville, Portageville and New Madrid County Central.

The Lady Hawks program is long and rich with quality teams. In 1977 and 1978, Kelly finished in fourth and second place respectively in the Class 2A state tournament. Kelly earned third place in 1992.

Kelly has won the fourth most district titles in the region for girls basketball with 11. Scott County Central has won 22 titles, Jackson has 13 and Doniphan has captured 12 district titles.

The Lady Hawks have won three district titles in the last four years and head coach Rod McQuerter returns four starters to a team that won a district title and finished the year at 20-9. Kelly lost to Doniphan in Class 3 sectional action. The Donettes finished in fourth place last year in Class 3.

(Photo)
Kelly sophomore Debra Hall goes up for a shot.
Leading scorer and rebounder Debra Hall (5-11) returns for her sophomore season after averaging 15 points and nine rebounds per game as a freshman.

Hall has excellent footwork in the paint and a nice soft touch. Hall shot 60 percent from the field last year.

Senior Brittany Ponder (5-4) will return to run the point for the Lady Hawks. Ponder averaged 10 points, six assists and grabbed four rebounds a game last year and will be expected to have more of a leadership role this season.

McQuerter believes his team has to take care of the basketball to be successful.

"We have to be ready to compete each and every game," said McQuerter. "We have to realize that every single possession is important and play accordingly."

Kelly does return four starters, but the vast majority of the team is young and inexperienced.

"We are going to have a young team this year," said McQuerter. "I am blessed because we have a good group of girls out this year. They work hard and give maximum effort at every practice."

Kelly boasts a varsity roster of 20 girls with six seniors. Along with Ponder, Kaitlin and Ashley Vetter, Nikki Weiny, Lauren Gean and Ashley Noll are all seniors that will see significant time this year.

Juniors Katee Moore (5-6) and Kayla Cissell (5-9) saw a lot of floor time as sophomores and will have a key role on this year's team.

"First and foremost we are going to work on having a positive attitude at all times," said McQuerter. "I want my team to encourage each other and play hard. If we can have a positive attitude, play as a team and work hard each and every night, we will be okay this year."

The Lady Hawks will compete in three tournaments this season at the Chaffee Tournament, the Lady Royals Holiday Tournament in Twin Rivers and the Scott-Mississippi Tournament.

Kelly's schedule gets very difficult starting in the month of February with Class 4 Dexter, Class 5 stalwart Poplar Bluff and Delta who finished in fourth place in Class 1 a season ago.

"I have told the girls that every team on our schedule is going to be a tough game," said McQuerter. "We can't take anybody lightly. We just have to go out and play with a positive attitude every single night. We are preparing like every game is a district title game. We have to play as a team and play hard every game if we want to be successful."

Kelly opens the season on Nov. 30 at the Chaffee Lady Red Devils. Tip is set for 6 p.m. for the junior varsity contest.