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Cates in charge of Lady Cardinals

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Coach Cates was an assistant for the Lady Cardinals for two seasons. He will be the man in charge this season.

Kent Cates moved up a seat this summer and took over the control of the Brighton Lady Cardinals Basketball program.

Working as an assistant under Ron Lanier last year, Cates helped keep the team together through a 3-win campaign. Now with a roster featuring up and coming talent and six seniors, Cates is ready for his team to move a seat in the District 13-3A peaking order.

“We’ve got six seniors, three of which got a lot of playing time last year,” he noted. “And over the summer, I’ve seen a lot of maturity out of thos guys. We’re going to build our team around that, strong defense and rebound. On the offensive side, we’re going to build our team on a lot of movement. Trying to create easier shots for ourselves.”

Cates brings nearly 20 years of industrial experience to the job. He said he knows how to manage a group and get them to work together to reach a common goal.

“What I feel like I bring to the team is a structure in our organization and our practice and to our game,” Cates noted.

The seniors expected to help Cates through the transition period are Brianna Brown, Katelyn Price, Morgan Shaver, McCallie Ruffin, Hailley Shepard and Alaina Bierdz.

Ruffin, Shepard and Bierdz saw significant minutes last season. The trio is expected to be the leaders on and off the court in 2012-13.

“Their work ethic, I would have to give it an A-plus,” Cates said of all the seniors. “That creates a strong interior base for us. We’re seeing a lot of the younger girls see that leadership. It also developing our younger girls to see what they need to do to become better players themselves.”

Some of the younger girls learning from the seniors are junior Teiona Lewis, sophomores Jada Johnson, Lilly Hill and Kaelyn Forbes and freshmen Bailee Beard, Shayna Johnson, Lisa Lemons and Lauren Wood.

The youthful Lady Cardinals will have to compete in a tough district featuring Jackson North Side, Dyer County, Hardin County and the defending champs Munford Lady Cougars.

“I feel like we can be in the middle of the pack,” Cates said. “Coming off three wins last year, my main goals are to work on defense, rebounding and creating easier shots. I feel like if we can get easier opportunites at the basket, we’ll be in a lot ball games.”

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