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Idabel Warriors Girls Basketball Preview – Presented by Mandy Knowles Shelter Insurance

Coach: Kayla Denton

21-22 Record: 26-3

After going 9-15 two seasons ago, the Lady Warriors zoomed to the Class 3A state finals last year with a 26-3 record before losing to Jones in the title game.

Now that they’ve been there, the Lady Warriors are bidding for a return.

“We gained the experience needed to make it to the state finals last season and are locked in to return to the state tournament and get a different outcome this season,” third-year coach Kayla Denton says.

Junior center Mary Carden (6-6), who averaged 13.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game last year despite often facing triple- and quadruple-teams, returns to lead the Lady Warriors on both ends of the floor. Denton raves about Carden’s “array of post moves” and mid-range game and says she is a “great shot-blocker and paint-protector.” Carden holds several Division I offers, including Oklahoma State.

“(Carden) is one of the top posts in the state,” Denton says. “She is a hard worker and shows leadership skills. She has a great basketball IQ… She has gained a lot of experience and she will have a great season ahead of her.”

Also returning for Idabel is the “very athletic, very quick and hard to guard” sophomore point guard, Mercades Lopez (5-5). As a freshman, Lopez averaged 9 points, 5 boards and 5 dimes per game.

“(Mercades) had a great showing during the state tournament, and she continues to get better. She is savvy with the ball. That makes her hard to guard,” Denton says. “She has great court vision and basketball iQ. She has the potential to be a Division I point guard.”

Others to watch: SG Sami Jobe (5-4, Sr.), SG Ka’Rizma Thompson (5-3, Jr.), G Damaya Hunt (5-6, Jr.), G Victoria Owens (5-5, So.), F Bianca Cherry (5-6, Fr.), G Quantasia Johnson (5-8, Fr.), G Kylene Denton (5-4, Fr.) and G Makenley Butler (5-5, Fr.). 

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