By BRAD KEITH
(February 18, 2016) — For Huckabay to claim an area championship, the Lady Indians will have to get passed a Zephyr team that will be out for revenge.
Huckabay beat Zephyr 42-29 in the regular season and meets the Lady Bulldogs again in a Region III-A area playoff Friday. Tipoff at Dublin High School is set for 6 p.m.
“They play good man-to-man defense and have a couple really good athletes,” said Huckabay coach Caleb Walls. “They’re really disciplined as far as their offense is concerned, so we’ll see how our press can affect them.”
The answer, against most opponents, has been drastically.
The Huckabay press, led by always-active sophomore guard Presli Bray, overpowered every district opponent not named Lipan and was too much for Graford to handle in the bi-district round Monday at Brock. Huckabay eliminated Graford, 50-23.
“She’s a very athletic girl and a good player. Her hustle is really what sets her apart,” Walls says of Presli, the latest in a line of Bray kids to excel on the hardwood at HHS. “We kind of feed off her mentality. We like to be aggressive and she’s a very aggressive player. She’s a good leader for our other young players.”
Huckabay has other leaders, too.
“Taylor Lowe has been a great leader for us and has hit big shots when we’ve needed them,” Walls said. “When we’ve struggled to get going, she’s been the one hitting a three or a big basket.”
Walls also pointed to guard Bailey Woolridge as key to Huckabay’s attack.
“She’s been consistent, and that’s huge, because when she keeps our turnovers low, that obviously helps us,” said Walls.
Three freshmen including starting post Trinity Meader are already making an impact for Huckabay.
“Trinity starts at post and she’s doing really well,” Walls said. “She stepped up with the injury to Tiffany Lopez, and she’s made sure we haven’t missed a beat.”
Kailin Dowell came off the bench to average nine points and five steals in district.
“She’s another very aggressive player who does a great job as a freshman,” Walls said of Dowell, another last name familiar to Huckabay basketball. “We have some good upperclassmen leadership and good young players, too. It’s a good blend.”
The winner Friday advances to face Newcastle or Blum in the regional quarterfinals with a spot in the regional tournament on the line.