By Chris Parker
Hurley girls basketball improved from two wins two seasons ago to 10 wins last season. That number is poised to increase again with the Lady Tigers returning five of six players from last year including all five leading scorers.
Senior guard Maraya Schimmels led Hurley in scoring with 14 points per game last year. She earned first-team all-conference honors.
“I expect big things from Maraya this year going into her senior year,” Hurley head coach Joey Little said. “She is one of the hardest workers during games and practice I have coached. She will be my floor leader and I expect her to be just like a third coach.”
Fellow senior guard Mylee Chamberlain was second on the team in scoring with 7.7 points per game along with 4.3 rebounds per game.
“She improved on her field goal percentage the last two years,” Little said. “She will play both forward and guard this year. I expect her to be a bigger part of the offense and I need to her to improve on her rebounding. She is a smart player with good basketball knowledge.”
Junior forward Ashlee Robertson earned honorable mention all-conference honors on the strength of 6.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She also led the team in steals per game with 3.6.
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“Ashlee really stepped her game up last year,” Little said. “She works hard every day and will get better as the year goes by. She has led our team in rebounds and steals the last two years and her points per game went up last year. I really like coaching her.”
Little identified Schimmels, Chamberlain and Robertson as team leaders.
Kourtney Faucett (senior forward) and Morgan Smith (sophomore guard) also return.
A pair of freshmen in Jaema Schimmels (guard) and Madison Conrad (forward) are expected to see varsity action this year.
“Veteran leadership will be our greatest strength. I have seniors who have played a lot of varsity the past three years,” Little said. “I need my whole team to get better each day.”
Hurley opens the regular season on Nov. 22 at home against Sarcoxie.
“I am really looking forward to the season,” Little said. “Several girls worked all summer to get better. Somehow, we ended up with ten wins last year which was a great accomplishment. This year we will be going into the year with a deeper bench. Last two years we had five or six girls playing and with a big ninth grade group we could have around ten or eleven players out. We did not lose anyone from last year so I feel we will come into this year with higher hopes than the past two years. To be successful this year we must do a better job at taking care of the ball, being a better rebounding team, and shooting a higher percentage. I expect a lot from my senior group because they have played a lot of varsity minutes the past two years and with that experience, they should be able to handle pressure better. My seniors will need to help with the younger group to get them ready for some playing time.”