The Minden High basketball teams are poised for big seasons this year.
Both teams return a number of starters from last year and some interesting newcomers could influence the teams quite a bit.
"I have a positive outlook for my team this season," Lady Tider head coach Jacob Brown said. "Last season we had several young players gain valuable experience. We will continue to set high goals because I believe that's the only way you can make yourself work hard each day. When you set goals you have to have a vision and believe they can be achieved. I stress to this group of young ladies that they have to challenge each other every day."
Tide head coach Alan Shaw is equally positive about his team.
"I think we should be an improved and more experienced team," he said. "I feel like we can be competitive with most teams on our schedule. Hopefully, we will gel at the right time and make a run in district."
The Tide returns five starters from last year, which adds to Shaw's confidence.
"Dominique Walker is a dynamic player and a real team leader," Shaw said. "Tra Thornton is a hard worker and a defensive stopper and Leondre Forbes is a good rebounder and a presence down low. C.J. Elkins and Reggie Seamster will both be offensive threats and Elkins is a great three-point shooter."
Brown will welcome back a lot of experienced players to this year's Lady Tiders team.
"I have three returning starters from last year's team and several that came off the bench and played valuable minutes," Brown said. "That should allow us to have some depth this year. The three returning starters are all juniors in Tyia Green, Metosha Gill, and Antavia Sterling and Ja'Courtney Neloms also saw time as a starter last year."
Brown expects those players to play a big part in whatever success the Lady Tiders have this season.
"We are expecting big things from each of these players this year," he said. "Tyia was a defensive stand out for us last year and we look for her to be more versatile this season. Metosha, last season had to play out of position due to certain circumstances and did everything we asked her to do. She is a kid you want to have on your team because she is relentless on both ends of the floor. Ja'Courtney is a player that can really stretch the defense with her shooting ability and her play from a guard position is important to our success. Antavia Sterling played guard and forward for us last year. Antavia is a talented player that is definitely better each day."
Other players expected to play significant minutes are juniors Shabrie Nelson, Tiuanna Rogers and Mariah Washington.
The Lady Tiders have eight newcomers this season, juniors Marihica Sterling, Marshayla Greenard, Tynesha Harris, Jazmine Goodman, Ashley Shine, Cha'Raia Hill and Carmela Specks.
Specks is an all-star performer who transferred in from North Webster and is expected to play a large role for the Lady Tiders this season.
Both coaches expect tough district battles this season.
"I think the district will be competitive from the top to bottom," Brown said. "This district will be fun to watch. Our district consists of Benton, Huntington, Woodlawn, Northwood, and Fair Park. I really think this will be a district where you have to be ready to compete night in and night out."
Shaw sees the Huntington Raiders as the top team in the Tide's district.
"I think Huntington will once again compete for a state title," he said. "Northwood, Fair Park and Woodlawn will all be very athletic and competitive."
Shaw thinks his team will provide its fans with plenty of thrills this season.
"We will play an exciting brand of basketball that will be fun to watch," he said. "Also I think the Holiday Classic will be our very best one this year. It's scheduled for December 12-15 and we'll have 31 teams competing."
Brown wants to encourage the community to come out and support both Minden High teams.
"I want our community to come out and support the boys and girls basketball programs throughout the basketball season," he said. "Come out and fill up 'The Palace' each home game and make this a tough place to play for opponents. I know that both teams are excited about the upcoming season and want the community to be a part of our success. These teams will compete and play hard to represent this city and school."
Minden will host Lakeside on Tuesday, November 27.