2021-22 Winter Preview: Dora Girls Basketball

By Chris Parker

Dora girls basketball will be led by one of the state’s best scorers in senior Cassidy Hambelton this season. Hambelton, who earned all-state honors to go with conference and district player of the year honors, averaged 25.6 points per game last year. She has 1,824 points in her career and a real shot at eclipsing the 2,500-point barrier.

The Falcons will look to ride Hambelton’s scoring to a second straight district title. They finished 15-11 last season.

Fellow senior McKenna Miller will join Hambelton as Dora’s leaders. Miller is the team’s top vocal leader.

A quartet of juniors in Chesney Luna, Lauren Martin, Callen Depriest, and Shauna Lake also return this year. Luna is a strong shooter at guard. Martin and Depriest bring experience to the interior. Lake will see more action at guard in her junior year.

Junior Autumn Nold and sophomore Hannah Bunch will be newcomers to watch. Nold has shown improvement each season throughout her career. Bunch brings speed and adds depth to the guard position for Dora.

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“Our team’s biggest strength this year will be our team chemistry. We worked all season last year to make sure that no matter the circumstances or adversity that we remained one team. No matter the losses or the wins, we stayed together and never called down to one another. Staying positive and staying engaged is what made us successful,” Dora head coach Cole Garnette said.

Being vocal will also be important for Dora to have a successful season.

“Our team has to be just as vocal as we were last year. We struggled a little bit this summer with that,” Garnette said. “We just have to work on it every day in practice and make sure we are improving each day.”

Dora’s identity last year was built around the phrase “be the Moon”. This year, the Falcons will look to “trust the process”.

“Last year our identity was “be the Moon.” It was something I heard on the radio and relayed it to our team. Basically it was that the moon doesn’t produce light of its own, it reflects light from the sun back to the earth. I used it to remind the girls that even if something has got you down or you’re not playing well, reflect positivity from someone else in order to keep yourself engaged and maybe show that positivity to another teammate that might need it at that moment,” Garnette said. “This year they have taken on “trust the process.” There were times last season where we would do some things that were out there. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn’t, but every time I ended up just asking the team to trust me. If they didn’t work, I took the blame and we adjusted. When they did work, I gave the girls all the credit because they are the ones that play the game and have to execute the game plan. We ended up winning districts last season based on trust, so the girls have adopted “trust the process” this season.”

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Dora will open a season with high expectations on Nov. 22 at home against Van Buren.

“Our expectations are high this season,” Garnette said. “Winning districts last season and then being eliminated in sectionals after our all state guard sprained her ankle in the second quarter definitely have the girls and community expecting big things. We bring back three of our five starters and five girls that started at some point last season. We are looking forward to hopefully having another successful year.”

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