Lady Lions young but future is bright￼
By Kyle Mooty
The Lockhart Lady Lions are playing for the third head basketball coach in a year, but Elizabeth Harris plans on giving them stability coupled with a winning tradition all while playing in what she says is without question the toughest district in Texas.
At 7-10 on the season prior to Tuesday night’s game against mighty Hays, the Lady Lions have had their moments, including a thrilling 46-43 victory over Pieper in a game LHS didn’t lead until the final moments.
Senior point guard Mylah Johnson has provided on-court stability and sophomore Rakaia Walker is the potential for things to come with few weaknesses.
Harris is in her third year of coaching after originally opting for the legal field as an attorney.
“I love basketball,” she said with a big smile.
She also smiles when talking about the future of Lady Lions’ basketball.
“I’m really excited about the future,” Harris said. “I think we can be real good here.”
Similar to the boys’ team missing players early due to a prolonged football season, the Lady Lions have waited on volleyball players to get back in their basketball condition.
Walker is a power forward, although at 6-feet tall Harris could play her at the post.
“We don’t really have a post,” Harris said. “Last year, they played Rakaia at post. That’s just not her position. She’s a power forward. I’d rather play the girls where they’re gonna play in college and not just put them where it’s gonna help me. We can go a season without a post.
“We’ll put five out there and run ‘em. I’m not gonna put a girl at post that can shoot 3’s and not be able to get the ball to her. Rakaia is one of our best ball handlers too. She can grab the rim, too. We’re doing a lot of jump training. She’s a 3-point shooter. She’s fabulous. I’m trying to build up some consistency around her.”
Johnson was a captain on the volleyball team and is likewise for the basketball team.
“Mylah is a coach’s dream,” Harris said. “She always wants to work hard. She gets her teammates to work hard. She’s a pretty good representation of our athletic department.
Rakaia is mild-mannered and shy. I try to keep Mylah and her together because Mylah is more vocal. They’re becoming good friends and I like it a lot. If everybody was like Mylah and Rakaia, we would be unstoppable.”
Right now, Harris believes the team has a lot of young potential around Walker and Johnson.
Sophomore Vanessa Guzman is left-handed shooter that Harris said is strong coming off the opposite side in her circle offense.
Sophomore Tara Escobedo is a solid point guard that just needs work, according to Harris. “She’s really dedicated,” Harris said.
Freshman Marissa Sosa, and juniors Tiease Arrazola and Alyssa Martinez will also vie for starting roles.
“We’ve got some really athletic eighth graders coming up and we’ve got some really good freshmen, too,” Harris said.
The Lady Lions have dramatically improved their free throw shooting. They were just 1-of-14 in their opener and have since shot around 70-80 percent.
District 25 has three of the state’s top 20 5A teams, with Hays ranked in the top 10.
“Their attitude is they’re ready to go,” Harris said. “They are well aware of what’s in front of us and their energy’s still good. It would be great to have some height, but we have that coming up. We’re trying to get them to react more to the game than just go through the motions.”
Cedar Park is a two-time state champion, but two-time Gatorade Texas Girls Basketball Player of the Year Gisella Maul enrolled at the University of Texas early and will miss her senior year.
Hays has twin sisters Megan and Madi Disu, who have committed to Rhode Island.
“Rakaia plays on an AAU team with all of the Hays players, so she knows them,” Harris said. “We have the best district in the state for sure. We do this for two years, then we flip back to our old district when my sophomores will be seniors.”