OHS girls basketball team ready for new season

OKEECHOBEE — Hope springs eternal for the Lady Brahman basketball team who hopes to turn camaraderie, a successful off-season travel ball team, and hard work into a formula that results in a winning season.

Coach Joseph Smith enters his second year at the helm of the program. The charismatic and energetic young coach has shown he is capable of getting girls interested in playing. While in prior years the school couldn’t even field a junior varsity team, Smith hosted tryouts last week with 30 girls in attendance, and had to make cuts to get his rosters to 12 on varsity and 12 on junior varsity.

The team lost three experienced players in Taylor Trent, Sha’Dajia Williams and Hailey Greeson to graduation, but returns a fair amount of talent and experience. The team finished 6-15 last season.

Key players will include guard Cheyenne Nunez, center Shytria Ash, Raeley Matthews, Lahna Baker, Raylee Coleman, Imari Roberts, Dymond Wiggins, Mariah Mosley and Bri Baker.

Percint Wiggins and Aliyah Johnson will also be counted on to provide depth for the Lady Brahmans.

The season began Wednesday as the girls hosted their preseason classic with Clewiston, Moore Haven and John Carroll in attendance. Games continued on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.

The Lady Brahmans play in a tough district this year that includes South Fork, Sebastian River, and Palm Bay area schools like Heritage, Bayside and Eau Gallie. South Fork and Sebastian River were district champions last year.

The schedule will also include dates with Clewiston, Moore Haven, Hardee County, Desoto County, Royal Palm Beach, Forest Hill and Inlet Grove.

Coach Smith said he has learned a lot about the game and about the girls in the off season. The girls went 4-4 in travel ball games and showed vast improvement. He is also excited that two excellent athletes from the volleyball team, Coleman and Matthews agreed to join the basketball team.

Smith said his team will continue to have spirit, aggressive defense, physical play and more zone defenses. Smith said he wants to shut down the outside shooting of other teams better than last year.

Smith said he feels the team can be much improved this year, “The difference between this year and last year is like night and day. We added some girls from volleyball and Lahna Baker played for Lake Placid, we also have some younger girls that can play.”

Smith said he wants to make sure there is a good attitude among the girls and that the culture changes in the program. He said he wants to create something special.

On offense he feels most of his girls have worked hard on their jump shots and that should help the offense. He also plans to do a lot of pick and roll plays involving Nunez, Baker, Wiggins and his big girls Matthews and Ash.

“I want to invite all of the girls in the high school to play. If they want to play the game, I’m going to be there for them. I’m just real excited about the players,” he added.

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