HBS hoops

Ryne Gallacher / The Outlook Horseshoe Bend’s Nadia Brooks (30) bring the basketball up the court versus Donoho Nov. 20, 2020.

Rebuilds have been necessary across the board in women’s athletics for Horseshoe Bend this season.

That’s what happens when a group of female athletes like those in the Class of 2021 rolls through a Class 2A school. Stars like Abigail Cheatham, Caly Carlisle and Kate Lewis helped propel the Generals to a state tournament appearance in volleyball and a 16-10 record in basketball during the 2020-21 school year.

When that class graduated, Horseshoe Bend’s volleyball team was left with no seniors and only three juniors for this season. 

A similar bill has come due on the hardwood, but with enough young rising competitors, the Generals hope to battle their way to success this season.

“I’ve got a lot of players that have not had much playing time or haven’t even played before,” Horseshoe Bend coach Erica Meigs said. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

One of the biggest youngsters expected to contribute in big ways this season is sophomore guard Reagan Taylor.

Her height was a weapon for the Generals during volleyball season, rotating along the front line and often providing a strong defensive presence at middle blocker. 

On the basketball court, however, she’s not a forward as some might expect. She’s such a skilled player that her primary position is on the wing.

“We’ll need her to handle the ball,” Meigs said. “She’s really good with layups, and she can hit her 3’s too.”

Junior guard Nadia Brooks will also be a key part of the team’s wing play. Meigs added that she and Taylor will “set the tone” for the rest of the team.

When it comes to forwards, the team will bank on freshman Greenleigh Key with some combo help from sophomore Cara Johnson. 

“[Key] is really strong,” Meigs said. “This is her first year playing, I hope she can step in and play that role. Cara Johnson, she’s tall and she’s showing something like she might help out as a forward. But she can play guard or forward, either one.”

Meigs remains uncertain about who will handle and distribute the ball to those options from the point guard position, however.

Sophomore Jacey Johnson and eighth grader Lily Moss have both emerged as potential solutions, Meigs noted, but developing a player that young to run an offense takes time.

“Reagan and Nadia will be guards, but I need one person to step up and be a point guard,” Meigs said. “I’m looking for that one to step up and be the leader on the floor and handle the ball and handle the pressure.”

The team won’t be bereft of fourth-year leadership, however. Senior center Tegan Houghton will be a focal point, one of two seniors on the squad.

Horseshoe Bend’s season gets underway against LAMP Friday. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. at Horseshoe Bend High School.

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