Lady Trojans counting on hustle
By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 5, 2002
They are still short. They still don't shoot the ball very well. And to hear head coach Dan Stegall tell things, the Northeast Lauderdale Lady Trojans will be an underdog in just about every basketball game they play this season.
Then again, maybe not. Northeast was a minute away from going to the Mississippi Coliseum for the State 4A Girls Tournament last March. Instead, Bay St. Louis made a rally to beat the Lady Trojans in the consolation game of the 4A South State Tournament in Poplarville. Bay St. Louis went on to play in the 4A Finals before falling to Jackson Provine.
Northeast returns four starters off its 22-13 and Top Eight team from last year. The group includes its three leading scorers in Quinn Jackson, Shaquita Bell and Crystal Hopson.
Still, Stegall says the Lady Trojans must play hard every night to be successful.
The Lady Trojans' success revolves around an aggressive trapping press defense. The team's offense is set up by getting turnovers off the press.
Northeast struggled early last season, going 5-9 in the first two months of the season. Then came a trip to Alabama where the team won all three of its game. The Lady Trojans then played well through the divisional games and wound up winning the divisional championship. They later won a first-round playoff game to advance to South State.
Jackson, Bell and Hopson were the big reasons why. Jackson and Bell averaged right at 15 points per game. Hopson chipped in 12 per game.
Jackson is only 5-foot-6, but will again be counted on to play on the post. The 5-7 Bell is the power forward while Hopson is a two-guard.
Stegall is looking at a pair of players at the point and the off-forward spots.
Two other players who will be counted on for depth are junior post Audrea Harrison and guard Kim Hill.
The Lady Trojans open the season tonight at home against Quitman. The two teams are in the same division but the game will not count as a divisional game.