Much in the way of the other Class 5A and 6A fall sports, the Belton Lady Tigers’ basketball team was affected by the delay.
Typically in early November, the team receives their influx of volleyball players in around tryout time.
The team was able to work out via the summer strength and conditioning, as well as through the UIL-authorized sport-specific exercise programs.
“I feel that the kids used the time that we had over the summer to get better,” Belton Head Coach Brenda Gomez said. “They sent me multiple videos of them playing in the streets or ball-handling drills in the driveway. They picked up on ways that they could get better and make a difference in their game. Conditioning-wise, we are in better shape than ever.”
Belton was a team on the rise in 2019-2020, having gone 4-12 in District 12-6A and 12-24 overall.
With volleyball’s regular-season not concluding until at least Nov. 13, Belton’s basketball squad will be without a couple of its core players early on is MyKaela Johnston, McKenna Maddux and Campbell Burnett.
However, three-year letter-winners Karina Fisher and Nylah Modeste, second-year post player Anna Beamesderfer and second-year forward Lili Small will take up the slack.
“We have never been in a situation like this before where there are so many kids that can play,” Gomez said. “We have never had to cut players on the varsity level. That can be good or bad. We have had some move-ins and transfers in and also some of our younger kids that have stepped up and made a difference. I think that strength in numbers will be a positive for this team this season.”
Fisher, one of the program’s veterans, understands Gomez’s expectations, both on and off the floor.
“The biggest difference in this team as opposed to other teams since I have been on varsity is attitude,” Fisher said. “I feel that we have a very positive team, and that is going to help us in the long run.”
The Lady Tigers scrimmaged this past weekend and will start regular season play on Friday night at Bryan Rudder. They will face Pflugerville Connally at Tiger Gym this Wednesday night. It starts a nine-game slate over the next month that will lead the team into the Dec. 11 district opener against Shoemaker.
“I think that Rudder and Connally most resemble our district,” Gomez said. “That style of ball is good to see as much and as early as we can. Knowing that if we can keep up with that style of play, it will make the district season more successful.
The game before Shoemaker is one that the Lady Tigers have circled on their calendar: a non-district home game against former district foe Midway.
“It was very important to keep them on the schedule,” Gomez said. “Even the kids are excited to play them. Any time that you can get a good team to play you, I always feel that it can benefit us.”
“Midway on Dec. 5,” Fisher said. “We are definitely looking forward to that one. Our non-district schedule has a great deal of talent and tempo that we will see in district play.”