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The Melbourne girls basketball team has a lot of returning starters from last season’s team, along with several others who have played significant time, head coach Eric Teague said.

“They experienced what it was like to be the defending district, regional and state champions,” Teague said. “I think that experience will be very valuable in helping us to reach our goal; however, we also know that there are several very good teams in 2A, and we know we will have to be playing at our very best to have any chance at repeating last season.”

Melbourne has six players returning who had significant playing time from last season, including Kiley Webb, Josie Roark, Jenna Lawrence and Kenley McCarn. Teague said McCarn is very versatile with a good 3-point shot and “can beat you off the dribble for a jump shot or get to the rim.”

“Jenna Lawrence, who has committed to the University of Arkansas, has great hands, and she can use both her right and left hands for a shot,” the coach said.

Teague said this season is going to be very difficult for Melbourne; therefore, he said, it is important to not become complacent or satisfied with last season’s accomplishments.

“Tuckerman and Salem are very good teams in our conference this year,” Teague said. “Bigelow, Jonesboro, Batesville and Fort Smith Northside will also be some of our nonconference games to watch.”

He said the bigger schools, such as Northside, will be a challenge because of their athleticism and strength. He said both Tuckerman and Bigelow could easily make it to the state finals, and “they will be very hungry together.”

Webb has committed to Williams University, and McCarn committed to the University of Tennessee at Martin. Roark has an offer from Lyon College, and Kylee Humphries has offers from Williams University and Crowley’s Ridge.

“This year, you are going to see a combination of experienced players mixed in with a few of our younger players,” Teague said. “I am very excited about seeing them play with our veterans.”

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