Second-year Lady Warrior coach Terrell Barkley is pushing for an up-tempo brand of basketball, beginning tonight at 6 when OMA plays host to Skipstone Academy in the season opener.
"Last year, we were a pull it inside and maybe pull it outside kind of team. I think this year we're going to be up-pace, up-tempo, press a lot and just use our speed to our advantage," Barkley said.
"We've got some pretty quick girls. And Jessi Fuller, the way she shoots, if we can get up and down the court and people have to worry about lay-ups, we can kick it out to her and she'll knock down some 3s for us."
Fuller returns as the veteran of the squad after earning all-region accolades last season as a junior. Now in her fourth year with the program and second under Barkley, the Lady Warriors turn to new leadership on the hardwood.
"I feel good. We lost one — and it was a big one — but, still, it was just one. We've got, I guess you could say, our core back this year. Jessi Fuller has been here. This is her fourth year here and she's done a lot of good things," Barkley said.
"We've got Meredith Sammon, I think she's going to come on strong this year. Last year was a learning year. She was just a freshman on varsity, so you've got that learning curve."
Along with Fuller and Sammon returning, OMA will also lean on McKena Lipham, Aubrey Douglas and Jordan Francis, among others, in its quest for a region crown and opportunity to make a run in the Class A state playoffs.
"The No. 1 goal is to win a region championship and try to get into the final four. The year before I got here is the last time they won region, and that's what we plan on doing this year, too. We're going to try to win region and get to the final four. Once you get to the final four, anything can happen," Barkley said.
Now in his second year in charge of the program, Barkley has a better feel for his players and his players know what to expect from him. He said it's been a great fit heading into Year 2.
"Since Day 1, whatever I've asked them to do, they've done it. It's been an easy transition, I guess you could call it. If I ask them to do it, they do it. This summer was the first summer I got to take them to camp and we just made big strides. We went to some public school camps, and they're usually better teams and we got better. We competed. And I just feel like things are starting to come together," Barkley said.