ON THE COVER: Player to watch - Breylin SmithREAD ONLINE
Maumelle Lady HornetsPublished October 27, 2013 at 6:00 a.m.
Coach: Rodney Gilmore, second year at Maumelle; first year as head coach. His overall record is 64-24.
Last year’s record: 24-12. The team lost in the first round in the state playoffs.
Returning starters: Alexis Ellis, a 5-11 senior, averaged 10 points per game. She shared sixth-man responsibilities and is “very strong, athletic, a great scorer in transition,” Gilmore said. Also returning is Morgan Fimpel, a 6-4 senior forward/center. The coach described her as an “extreme shot blocker,” “a great rebounder” with a “great touch from outside.”
Best inside players: Fimpel’s name came up again. He called her “dominant in the low and high post” with a “soft touch inside.” Ellis is a power forward who “drives hard and is a relentless rebounder,” Gilmore said.
Best outside players: Fimpel and Tiara Thompson, 5-7 junior guard
How will you match/exceed/fall short of your success from last year?: The team is young and athletic, the coach said. The players have more quickness, less experience. “Hopefully, we will be in the top four in conference,” Gilmore said.
Team strengths: Gilmore listed a triple threat for the team’s strengths: athleticism, quickness and tenacity.
Team weaknesses: Experience
Games to watch: “All conference games will be tough this year,” Gilmore said. “Being the defending conference champions puts us as being the hunted rather than the hunter.”
Toughest opponent: Gilmore made no bones about it: “Pottsville and Dover should be a dogfight, as well as Dardanelle,” he said. “They have a lot of experienced returners that will cause some havoc this year.”
College prospects: He named two: Fimpel, whose “size and heart are unquestionable,” Gilmore said. He called the player an “ideal student-athlete.” Ellis is “simply a beast — a very hard worker, extremely coachable.”
In a nutshell: “Last year was our first year in school history to compete in the state playoffs,” he said. “We came up short, but the hunger to get back to state is still there. We had a great summer just getting back to the fundamentals. Our sophomore class has got to be the key for us to stay in our role as the hunter.”