University Heights Academy’s Alecia Davis calls for a play in a Lady Blazer practice.

After losing eight seniors a year ago, the bar for most is probably low for University Heights Academy girls’ basketball.

For Head coach Derrick Hickman, he still has his eyes set on the prize.

“I want everybody to be on the same page,” Hickman said. “My expectation is to win. We’re going to fight to win. My expectations are high. Like any other season. Come district time, don’t be surprised.”

However, the uphill battle begins when the Lady Blazers kick off the season.

UHA lost its top five scorers from a year ago and will be relying on a young core to lead it into the future.

“The hardest part is getting them ready,” Hickman said. “With this COVID — it’s time consuming. We only have eight players. There are so many things going on right now. But we’re young and we’ve got a lot of learning to do. We lost eight seniors. Losing eight seniors is hard. It’d be different if some of these girls played (last year), but none of them played except our little guard who was a seventh grader.

“I truly believe we’re going to work and we’ll be ready. We just have to work a little harder.”

Despite having a small number on the team and a short preseason to get them prepared, Hickman has enjoyed getting this team ready to go.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “This summer we weren’t able to work with them. Since we got them back, it’s been fun. These girls want to learn and we don’t have to pull their teeth to teach them. I think the sky is the limit, we just have to work hard.”

Leading the team will be senior Brittyn Northington and eight-grader Alecia Davis. Davis was sixth on the team in scoring a year ago, while Northington only appeared in four games for the Lady Blazers last season.

Hickman said the experience of working with them has been a good one, but with a young team comes some growing pains.

“I got to get our girls to dribble the ball more,” Hickman said. “They’re too nervous to dribble and start making mistakes. I told them this year they don t have to worry about making mistakes because there isn’t anyone I can put in. That takes a little pressure off of them. Being able to adjust after making mistakes that’ll help us make it through.”

Regardless, UHA gets the ball rolling early. After the opener against Hopkins Central, Hickman and the Lady Blazers hop right in to EIghth District play against Christian County.

Hickman said he is excited to see what his girls can do against the schedule ahead of them.

“I don’t have the big schedule like I had last year,” he said. “We start with Hopkins Central. They’re a little young too. Then we’ve got Christian County. I think playing Christian County early like that, will give our girls a little eye opener on what it takes to get better. Christian County and Hoptown are going to pressure us and try to turn the ball over. If we can handle the pressure, I think we’ll be ok.”

UHA and Hopkins Central kick off the season on Jan. 4 in Blazer Gym.

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