Ghazal hoping to expand on last year's success

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter

GLEN ROSE — Glen Rose girls basketball coach Ramsey Ghazal already faced enough challenges in trying to figure out how to replace key starters for the upcoming 2020-21 season, and then fate threw COVID-19 into the mix, and things got even more complicated.

As the Lady Tigers gear up to open practice on Wednesday, Ghazal said the team’s good work ethic will help that decision-making happen a little easier.

“This group was very self-motivated and had a solid offseason despite the obstacles that COVID-19 presented, so it does give us a better grasp of how to move on from replacing three great seniors that have meant a lot to our program, not just last year, but the past four years,” he said.

Gone are Hailey Ibarra, Kora Dodson and Breanna Baker, but the cupboard is far from bare for the Lady Tigers, who went 8-0 in district play last year, and 30-6 overall before bowing out to Argyle deep in the Class 4A playoffs.

“We are very excited to get the season started. This offseason has been really unique. As a coaching staff, we always encourage our girls to be active in the offseason, get involved with leagues and shoot outs,” Ghazal said. “This year due to the pandemic, we had to take a step back and let players and parents individually determine how much they would be involved and improve during the offseason.”

Seniors Jeana Douglas, Abby Stephenson, Hannah Cantwell and Lindsey Andress, and junior Hazel Hawkins will be the face of the Lady Tigers, and how they go, the team will go.

“We will look to them to bring leadership and stability to our team,” Ghazal said of the seniors.

Douglas, who developed her perimeter game in the offseason, was first-team all-district last year and brings the Lady Tigers a scoring threat inside. Stephenson, who was second-team all-district, will patrol the middle as well, and Ghazal said she expanded her offensive game in the offseason.

Cantwell will look to fill the shoes of Ibarra at point guard. The second-team all-district performer is the Lady Tigers’ top defender and Ghazal said she “just does so many little things right.”

Also returning on the perimeter are sharpshooters Hawkins and Andress. Hawkins, who brought the district’s sixth-man award, is the school record holder in 3-point field goal percentage, and Andress will be counted on to hit from outside to open up the inside perimeter game.

A good group of underclassmen will round out the varsity roster, Ghazal said.

“We will get several players once volleyball is complete, then we will start trying to find our team identity (and implement) what offense and defense best suits the players that we have,” Ghazal said.

The Lady Tigers will open the season Nov. 7 when they travel to Graham. Their first home game will be Nov. 13 when they host Alvarado.

“We have established ourselves as a top-10 program, and our girls are energized and motivated to continue that success,” Ghazal said.