University Heights Academy's Derrick Hickman is the only new hoops coach in this city this season, but he's no stranger to basketball in Hopkinsville or the Lady Blazers' program.
Hickman was an assistant for former UHA coach Taylor Sparks, and he knows what the program is all about.
"It's coming together," he said. "I've got some athletes. We're going to compete. I've got a group of senior girls that have been around me long enough that they know what I want. They're going to give me 100%."
Leading up to the team's first game Tuesday, the new coach has dealt with the same things as other coaches since injuries hindered his team early, but the success of the UHA volleyball program also limited the time he had with a few of his starters.
Lily Hendricks, Meghan Adams and Clarissa Miller were all starters on the Lady Blazer team that made it to another Second Region volleyball championship game, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to postseason experience.
Hendricks and Adams, along with several others on the team, were also on the squad a year ago when the Lady Blazers made it to the All "A" Classic state basketball tournament in Richmond. Those three were also state placers in track last season as well.
Hickman said UHA sometimes has the stigma where the team doesn't like to be coached hard, but he said that's not even close to being the case.
"These girls want to be pushed, they want to be coached," he said
With the schedule the Lady Blazers have this season, Hickman expects a lot of wins, but he said he'll give it three or four games since it'll take some time before they get settled in.
During the Second Region Media Day at the Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Sportsplex, Hickman said his team's focus this season was going to be on defense and Adams was going to be a force to be reckoned with in the post.
"She's my motor. She's the girl I'm going to," he said of Adams.
UHA was 13-14 a year ago and finished in the middle of the pack among region teams.
The Lady Blazers haven't finished above .500 since they went 23-7 in 2014-15 after falling in the first round of the regional tournament to eventual runner-up Webster County.
Hendricks was a seventh-grader on that squad, and she's also
See Hickman/ Page B3
the top returning scorer for Hickman as she averaged 14 points per game last season. Adams also finished in double digits with 10.3 ppg to go with 7.6 rebounds per contest.
The Lady Blazers start the season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hopkins County Central. UHA's first home game is Dec. 10 against Graves County.
Box this....starting lineup
Dec. 3 Hopkins County Central away 7:30 PM
Dec. 7 Trinity (Whitesville) away 12:30 PM
Dec. 10 Graves County home 7:30 PM
Dec. 12 Dawson Springs home 6:00 PM
Dec. 14 Crittenden County away 4:30 PM
Dec. 17 Fort Campbell home 6:00 PM
Dec. 20 Caldwell County home 7:30 PM
Dec. 26 TBA at Community Christian Academy 12:00 PM
Jan. 3 Union County away 7:30 PM
Jan. 4 McLean County home 3:00 PM
Jan. 7 Trigg County away 6:00 PM
Jan. 10 Hopkinsville home 6:00 PM
Jan. 11 Daviess County away 2:30 PM
Jan. 13 Caldwell County at Crittenden County 7:00 PM 2nd Region All "A" Classic
Jan. 21 Trigg County home 7:30 PM
Jan. 28 Christian County home 7:30 PM
Jan. 31 Hopkinsville away 6:00 PM
Feb. 4 Christian County away 7:30 PM
Feb. 8 Lyon County away 2:00 PM
Feb. 11 Russellville home 7:30 PM
Feb. 13 Fort Campbell away 6:00 PM
Feb. 15 Butler County away 4:30 PM
Feb. 17 Madisonville-North Hopkins away 7:30 PM
Feb. 20 Dawson Springs away 6:00 PM