By Gary Lloyd
MOUNTAIN BROOK — The Hewitt-Trussville varsity girls basketball team is looking to build this season.
At Birmingham High School Basketball Media Day on Wednesday at Mountain Brook High School, first-year head coach Tonya Hunter said previous coach Stu Stuedeman did a great job over the past two seasons. Stuedeman, who led the Lady Huskies to a 26-33 record in that time, is now an assistant coach with the Mountain Brook boys team.
“They’re at a level where they can take another step, and that’s what we’re trying to do, take another step,” Hunter said.
Hunter spent the last nine seasons at Shades Valley, where she won the Class 6A state championship earlier this year.
“This is a totally new puzzle,” Hunter said of the Hewitt-Trussville job. “We’re just excited to try to put the pieces together.”
Only two starters return from last year’s team. Point guard Cayla Dillard is now a senior, and guard Gabby Hill is a junior. They accompanied Hunter to Media Day. Hunter said all players have been working hard and the preseason has been “great.”
Dillard will be the primary ball handler, as she was a season ago, but she’ll have help. Eighth-grader Morgan Kirk was brought up to varsity this season and will have a role at the point guard position.
“She kind of dominated the (Hewitt-Trussville Middle School) team (last season),” Hunter said of Kirk.
Hunter said Hill is a slasher who is developing a consistent 3-point shot. She said junior Kimberly Duffett, who is a 6-foot-2 center, runs the floor well. Hunter said her system is catered to personnel, but she likes a defense with “high intensity.”
“Very passionate about defense,” Hunter said.
Hunter said expectations should increase with each game Hewitt-Trussville plays. The girls open the season tonight, Nov. 6 against Mortimer Jordan at 6 p.m. at Bryant Bank Arena.
Hill said Hunter is similar to Stuedeman in their expectations.
“They’re both really intense about stuff,” Dillard said. “I think Coach Hunter does a really good job of expecting stuff out of us and demanding that we do well and play well.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.