ELIDA — The Elida Lady Tigers had a good season in 2003-04 — maybe not a great season by their standards, but they did reach the Class 1A state semifinals.
Still, their overall record (17-13) was relatively modest.
“We had chances to beat people, but we made too many mistakes in close games,” said junior Kodi Armitage.
Armitage, a 5-foot-9 forward, and an otherwise-all-senior starting lineup hope to return Elida to state glory this year. The Lady Tigers host the Lovington junior varsity in their season opener on Friday.
Coach Dan Howard is faced with replacing three starters from last season, but he said the talent still is there to do well.
“We played a lot of stiff competition,” he said of last year’s record. “We never had a ‘gimme’ game. But I think we’re going to be all right (this year).”
Both Armitage and 5-6 senior point guard Casey Ford have recovered from knee injuries suffered in the state semifinal loss to Grady.
“So far they’re doing good,” Howard said. “They’ve been practicing hard, and they seem to be ready to get after it.”
Ford and 5-foot-11 senior post Adrienne Coe are the Lady Tigers’ returning starters. Joining those two and Armitage in the starting lineup are 5-7 senior forward Amber Griffin and 5-7 senior forward-guard Shalie Anthony.
Howard, in his fifth season as the Lady Tigers’ coach, said younger players should give the team some depth.
“We’re not real big inside, but we have some quickness,” he said. “Hopefully, our seniors will give us some good leadership.”
Armitage said being surrounded by seniors is a plus for her.
“That’s going to help a lot,” she said. “We have some younger girls who should be able to come off the bench a lot.
“I think we’re going to be stronger than people expect.”
Talented Fort Sumner appears to be the top team in District 3-1A, and the Vixens are likely to challenge for state honors.
“I think Fort Sumner has got to be ranked No. 1 in the state,” Howard said. “They pretty well dominated in volleyball (in winning a state championship last week), and they’ve got some tremendous athletes.
“They’ve got seven or eight seniors, plus they’ve had a couple of girls move in. They’ve a very balanced team; they’ve got it all.”
Still, the Lady Tigers aren’t going away any time soon.
“It’s going to be an interesting year,” Howard said. “We’ve got a bunch of girls who need to step up, and if they do we’ll be all right.”
(Boys and girls unless noted)
19 — Lovington JV, 5/6:30 p.m.; 29 — at Tucumcari, TBA.
3 — Texico, 7/8:30 p.m.; 4 — Hondo, 4/5:30 p.m.; 9-11 — at New Deal (Texas) tournament, TBA; 20 — at Lovington JV, 1/2:30 p.m. 27-29 — at Roswell Goddard tournament (G), TBA.
4-8 — EPAC tournament at Texico and Portales, TBA; 13 — House, 5/6:30 p.m.; 15 —at Hondo, 4/5:30 p.m.; 18 — Dora, 7/8:30 p.m.-x; 21 — at Floyd, 6/7:30 p.m.-x; 28 — at Fort Sumner, 6/7:30 p.m.-x
1 — Melrose, 6/7:30 p.m.-x; 4 — at Dora, 7/8:30 p.m.-x; 8 — Floyd, 7/8:30 p.m.-x; 15 — Fort Sumner, 7/8:30 p.m.; 18 — at Melrose, 5:30/7 p.m.-x.