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Lady Chargers beginning season relatively healthy

OXFORD — For the first time in recent years Cliff Ormon has gone into the beginning of a season with a mostly healthy roster.

In the past two seasons, Ormon has been dealt injuries to key players ahead of the season opener.

The start to 2018’s season has been slightly smoother, though Ormon will be without one starter for the first part of the season. Junior Briunna Ducksworth suffered an ACL injury during a non-contact play in April. She’s been cleared to run, but physical contact is not allowed until a brace is approved.

“It kills her not to go. She’s ready to get loose,” Ormon said. “I’m anxious to see but worried at the same time. It’s just one of those things where you get an injury like that and it usually takes them a long time (to recover). She’s actually doing really well.”

Outside of Duckworth’s setback in the spring, Ormon has a senior-heavy roster with plenty of experience that he is ready to put on the court.

The Lady Chargers are coming off a 4-24 season where they went 0-8 their first year in Region 2, Class 6A. With that result in the back of their minds, the first couple weeks of practice have been about one thing.

“We’ve really focused on being tough and being competitive in everything we do,” Ormon said. “We did a lot of competition drills. Every time you get on the floor, your goal is to be the best that you can be and compete. If you’ll just give us that effort we’ll start to see progress in other areas and then we can start to coach basketball. I think we’ve always played hard, but I don’t know if they understood you got to do it three plays, five plays, whatever it takes in a row to win.”

After reaching the playoffs two years ago, Ormon hoped last year would feed off of that success. Instead, the Chargers struggled their first year in Class 6A.

However, with the experienced roster this season, Ormon is looking for more consistency in the group.

“Coming off (2016 season) I had some expectations and we just weren’t consistent in our effort,” Ormon said. “That’s one thing we’re challenging with this year. Be consistent.”

The Lady Chargers begin their season against Shannon in the Pontotoc Classic on Nov. 1.