Cathedral seniors eye opportunity in 2014-15 campaign
Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014
NATCHEZ — Two state playoff appearance banners from the past two seasons hang in Roy J. Garcia Gymnasium. Since Cathedral head coach Randy Smith remodeled the program four years ago, those banners have sufficed.
Quickly, times have changed, and Smith wants to take the next step with multiple seniors maturing as basketball players under his four-year coaching campaign at Cathedral.
“This is our best year ever as far as having players that have been in the program since I’ve been here,” Smith said.
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The Lady Green Wave will present a team that’s made up of five seniors, five sophomores and four freshmen, looking to build off of a 14-12 season that saw Cathedral exit the state playoffs in the first round to Stringer High School. A freshman, Elizabeth Smith, led the team in scoring with 15 points per game, helping build optimism for Cathedral’s 2014-15 season.
Because of Smith’s emergence, along with the competitive nature of freshmen and sophomores who have been battling with upperclassmen at practice, seniors Akui Kumi, Caroline Smith, Carleigh Combs, McKenzie Milligan and Mackenzie Watts have been battling to keep their positions against a hungry group. Add in Trinity transfer Marty Lewis to the mix, and the Green Wave believe they have a deep lineup that can upgrade another banner
“This year we have a real problem,” Smith said. “These seniors have to play well because we have some sophomores and freshmen that are ready to play too. So it’s a good problem to have.”
The last time the Green Wave won a district championship in girls basketball was in 1981, the second of Cathedral’s two district championships in school history. Glancing up at 1975 and 1981 on the banner, Milligan saw opportunity.
“It’s time to add to that district champions (banner),” Milligan said.
Watts added that the banner looked rather miniscule compared to other banners in the gymnasium.
“Yeah, that’s kind of embarrassing,” said Watts, glancing up and observing the banner.
The table is set for Cathedral to change that with state runner up Hinds County Agricultural no longer in the Green Wave’s district. That, along with a tight nucleus has helped bring prominence back to Cathedral girls basketball.
“The girls in my grade, when we were in eighth grade, we went undefeated,” Combs said. “Now that we’re seniors, it’s like we’re back at it. It’s exciting.”
Cathedral will begin its journey Nov. 25 at Loyd Star.