Lady Eagles look to build on five-win season

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By Anthony Arroyo

COMMERCE CITY — The Adams City girls basketball team will be led by third-year head coach Joe McCleland as they look to build on last year’s early success. Adams City finished 5-18 last year, but was 3-5 before the winter break.
    “Our goal, no matter what, is always to win league and to make state,” McCleland said. “It always will be. It wouldn’t make sense to think otherwise.”
    The program has 26 girls out, but McCleland noted that he would like to see bigger numbers to build for the future. Out of the 26 participants, only five returners features some sort of varsity experience. The team also has three seniors: Sonia DeLuna, Ovi Aragon and Ruby Castro. One senior not on the list, Jasmine Flores, suffered a torn knee ligament and is out for the season.
    “Any time you lose seven points and nine rebounds a game, that is going to be tough to replace,” McCleland said of Flores.
    Without Flores, the inside presence becomes a bit more of a question mark for the coaching staff to confront. DeLuna, the team’s leading scorer last year, is a threat inside, but with her as the player with the most post experience it may be tougher for her to find opportunities.
    “There may be instances when we have four guards on the court at the same time,” McCleland said. “Our goal is to be an up-tempo team and pressure on the defensive end a bit more than last year.”
    One guard who the team will be leaning on is junior Zelle Moore. Moore averaged six points a game last year and will be in the role of a leader of the backcourt. She will be pressed often by opponents, so limiting turnovers will be key.
    The Lady Eagles will play anywhere between eight to nine games before winter break, depending on the outcome on a tournament in Littleton later this year. With three seniors and five returning varsity players, there are a lot of opportunities for the new players to get some experience before league play begins.
    “The big thing to really focus on is to gain experience,” McCleland said. “We have new faces on the team, so it is important to find out what we have and having people accept roles they may or may not be comfortable with.”
Early season scores
    Adams City is 0-2 to start the season, falling 63-42 to Frederick Wednesday and 83-36 Thursday at Peyton. Next up is a home game against Denver North Dec. 6 before preparing for a tournament that starts Dec. 12. The Eagles will also host Lincoln Dec. 1.