Glen Rose varsity girls basketball coach Ramsay Ghazal is having to adjust of his plans entering the 2017-2018 campaign, with as many as three players who may miss the season because of injuries.
Fortunately for the Lady Tigers, the remaining players have enough talent that Ghazal envisions some big things for them in the playoffs despite the losses.
“We could be really, really tough. The sky’s the limit,” said Ghazal, who posted his 400th career coaching victory last season. “If we play well, there’s no reason we can’t aim for those same goals (reaching the state tournament).”
The Lady Tigers fell one win short of reaching the regional tournament for the first time since 1992. They lost to 10th-ranked Stephenville, 35-32, in the regional quarterfinal round, and finished the season at 27-9 overall.
Ally Andress, a 5-7 three-sport standout for GRHS, was an all-state selection last season and the District 8-4A Offensive Most Valuable Player. She was also named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s all-star game.
“Every team needs some great players, and Ally gave us that,” Ghazal said at the end of last season.
Andress, who led the team in scoring (17.4 points per game), is back for her senior year, but won’t be available until next week — along with Logan Smith and Laiken McAnear — because they are playing for the Lady Tigers’ volleyball team this week in the state tournament. McAnear sat out last season with a knee injury.
Three seniors were lost to graduation, including starter Jaylan Evans, who was second-team all-district.
Junior Presley Grace, a good shooter who would have been a starter this season, along with junior Collie Keller and sophomore Cora Dodson, are out with knee injuries. Keller may have a chance to play later this season, Ghazal said, depending on how her recovery goes.
“I thought we were going to have 11 girls on the varsity. We’ll probably keep it at eight,” Ghazal said. “I hate it more for those three girls than anything. All three brought something to the table.”
Ghazal said the remaining varsity players will have to be in shape to handle the minutes they will be needed to play, and the team’s pressing defense may have to be used in spot applications.
Andress is also valuable as a strong rebounder, having averaged 10 boards per game last season.
Other varsity team members will be first-team all-district post Logan Smith, a 5-11 senior, 5-7 senior point guard Sydney Lozier, versatile senior Kashanna Bryant, 5-8 senior forward-wing McAnear, sophomore point guard Hailey Ibarra, 5-8 sophomore guard-wing Bree Baker and 5-8 junior post Emma Sheffield. Ybarra was the district’s Freshman of the Year last season, and made this year’s Players to Watch list published by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, along with Andress.
Smith, Ghazal said, “gives us a lot of athleticism, rebounding, running the court, and inside scoring. (She makes) it tough for teams guarding her and Ally.”
Ghazal said that Lozier “has really gotten better with her 3-point shooting.”
McAnear is a good athlete who returns after missing her junior season, following a strong sophomore campaign.
The coach said Bryant is strong, athletic and “can do it all,” having proved her value last season as one of the first players off the bench. Ghazal said she will be a starter this season “off and on.”
Ghazal said Ibarra “came on last year as a freshman. She is a dynamic player, and she can create off the dribble. If she shoots well, she will be a legit all-state type player.”
Baker, Ghazal said, had an outstanding preseason.
“She is long and athletic and she can defend,” he said. “She has gotten better about getting to the rim and scoring.”
McAnear and Baker, who was on the JV a year ago, should give opponents problems with their speed and athleticism.
Ghazal said Sheffield is a great team player who “does all the little things right, rebounds well. She doesn’t need the ball in her hands to score — she finds the ball. She gives us a lot of flexibility on defense.”
The Glen Rose girls reached the final of a 24-team summer tournament in Grapevine, losing to Saginaw Boswell.
“They know that I know they’re pretty good,” Ghazal said. “They’ve got to keep pushing,
Ghazal said the Lady Tigers are predicted to have a second-place finish behind Stephenville in seven-team District 8-4A alignment. Godley is picked third, followed by Midlothian Heritage and Waxahachie Life School. The district also includes Alvarado and Venus.