(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) The Cedar Hill High School Girls Basketball Team graduated five starters, including two NCAA Division I players, from last season’s Regional Runner-Up Team.
But according to Lady Longhorns 10th year head coach Nicole Collins, the word ‘rebuilding’ isn’t in the program’s vernacular.
“I honestly think this is a better team than last season,” Collins said of the preseason #7 Cedar Hill Team, which opens the 2023-2024 season on November 3 vs. Hebron, in the Wylie Tipoff. “These kids are different. The mindset is different. They play for each other. When a team gets it, they get it and you see it on the floor. They’re fun to watch and fun to coach.”
In nine seasons, Collins has guided Cedar Hill to two Regional Championship Games and six Regional Quarterfinal appearances. The excitement in her voice, when discussing the 2023-24 team, indicates that the program’s first trip to the State Semifinals since 2010. Collins was an assistant – just a few years removed from playing college basketball for Baylor – that season.
She knows it will be a challenge to advance to San Antonio but feels great about the team that could make it happen.
“We have so much offensive firepower on the floor,” Collins said. “Our team shares the ball, and it’s reminiscent of those great San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors teams. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Jadyn Atchison (Colorado) and Kelis Grant (Sam Houston) have graduated, but the Lady Longhorns have several key players, returning including senior Taylor Craver and juniors Brooklyn King and Trinity Thomas
“Taylor was our only true point guard on the team last season – she had a lot of experience and is coming off a good summer,” Collins said. “King is a great defender and rebounder. She has a much improved shot, and she gives us a little bit of everything. Thomas is our best on-ball defender. She’s quicker and has more confidence this season.”
Junior Rylan Jones is currently playing on the Cedar Hill Volleyball Team, which begins playoffs next week, and freshman Dawn Jones is “the most athletic player in the program,” said Collins.
Cedar Hill has several key transfers this season, including senior Tajenae “Red” Gooden from Duncanville, senior Madison Caldwell and junior Micaiah Risby – both from DeSoto.
The Lady Longhorns’ schedule features mostly Top 25 teams, and then of course, in District 6A-11, there’s DeSoto and Duncanville – fellow Top 10 programs.
“I’m a firm believer in that it’s never about the other team — It’s about ourselves,” Collins said.
“Clearly, we’re in an area and district with great competition. We have to make sure we don’t defeat ourselves.”
CEDAR HILL GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
November 3 vs. Hebron (Wylie Tipoff), 11 a.m.
November 4 vs. Legion Prep (Wylie Tipoff), 7 p.m.
November 7 at Mesquite Horn, 6:30 p.m.
November 9-11 at Baytown Tournament, TBA
November 14 vs. Coppell, 6:30 p.m. (Home Opener)
November 16-18 at Allen HoopFest
November 21 Alamo City Hoops vs. Converse Judson, 5:30 p.m.
November 22 Alamo City Hoops vs. Cibolo Steele, 1:30 p.m.
December 1 vs. Mansfield Timberview, 6:30 p.m.
December 7-9 Mansfield ISD Tournament
December 12 vs. Mansfield Legacy, 7:30 p.m. (District Opener)
December 15 at Mansfield Lake Ridge, 7:30 p.m.
December 19 vs. Waxahachie, 6 p.m.
December 27-29 Spring Creek Invitational
January 2 at Duncanville, 6 p.m.
January 5 vs. Mansfield, 6 p.m.
January 9 at Dallas Skyline, 6:30 p.m.
January 12 vs. DeSoto, 6 p.m.
January 16 at Mansfield Legacy, 6 p.m.
January 19 vs. Mansfield Lake Ridge, 6 p.m.
January 23 at Waxahachie, 6 p.m.
January 26 vs. Duncanville, 6 p.m.
January 30 at Mansfield, 6 p.m.
February 2 vs. Dallas Skyline, 6 p.m.
February 6 at DeSoto, 6 p.m.