With two straight sectional championships in the bag, the 2005-06 Lady Lion basketball team begins its quest for a third as the regular season opens Saturday evening at home against Columbus East.

The hard work did not start just two weeks ago with the start of practice. The girls have been working together since this summer.

“We had a great summer. Everybody got to play and got a chance to step up in games when we needed it,” said RCHS head coach Melissa Marlow.

Rushville played in the Southport League on Tuesday evenings and also went to the Purdue University team camp where the Lady Lions finished 6-2.

The other big challenge for these girls was the 6 a.m. workouts.

“We had great turnouts in the mornings. That shows the dedication of these girls,” said Marlow.

The Lady Lions will be led by four seniors.

Amanda Stull is the leading scorer returning after being an Indiana Junior All-Star South Squad member following last season. The senior guard has committed to Division I Coastal Carolina University.

Laura Liggett adds speed and scoring from the guard position.

Katie Berkemeier will bring athleticism to the Lady Lions.

Elizabeth Wagner is the main inside presence and will have the task of shutting down the inside game of the opponents again this season.

These four Lady Lions lead by example and have enjoyed an HHC title and two sectional championships.

“We have a pretty veteran ball club this year. I credit where we are as a program to this senior class. They never gave up during tough times. They are hard workers and that is contagious for the younger players,” said Marlow. “These seniors have really brought back life to the program.”

Once again, the Lady Lions will not be a big team in the middle. That is nothing new for Coach Marlow and her crew.

“It seems we face that each year,” said Marlow. “We may see a little more zone this year, but I feel we will be better in our zone offense this season.”

Lacking size may be a factor against the Lady Lions, but Rushville will look to overcome that with great quickness — causing matchup problems for their opponents.

The junior class consists of twin sisters Lacey and Stacey Hornaday.

Four sophomores round out the varsity squad — Lauren Perin, Kaycee Sullivan, Brittanni Hood and Kayla Hoeing.

“We have a tight group of kids. They are really close,” said Marlow. “I think that will benefit us on how we play as a team this year.”

Hood and Hoeing will split time with the reserve squad this year. They will be joined by LaShaya Crowdus, Val Martin, Brooke Edwards, Emily Sickbert and Audrey Price.

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