CARSON CITY — After three weeks of practice and scrimmages, the girls high school basketball season is set to tip off tonight with five area games.
The featured matchup takes place in Carson City as the Central Montcalm Hornets visit to begin the season. Each team is coming off completely different seasons.
The Eagles finished 18-5 last year. They were Central Michigan Athletic Conference champions — their first conference title since 1982 — and were district champions.
Carson’s season ended in the regional semifinals to eventual Class C state champion Morley Stanwood.
Their experience from last year has helped the Eagles in preparations for this season.
“I really enjoy coaching this team. They are an experienced team with six returning players,” Eagles coach Larry Farmer said. “We have been a little more advanced than we normally would have been at this time of year, because of the experience. Practice has been going well.”
Central Montcalm is coming off a 7-14 season. They also have six returning letterwinners, but have a new coach in Kevin Everingham.
So far, Everingham said practice has been going well. The team has been working together since the summer.
“Practice has been going great,” Everingham said. “We’ve had good practices and the girls are moving great. I think we will be a quick team.”
Carson City-Crystal opened last year with a 41-28 victory at Central Montcalm. Farmer is expecting a tough game.
“I know they have an inside player that is really good and some new guards and a returning guard that is good,” Farmer said. “I expect it to be a tough game for both of us.”
Everingham wants to see his team play defense.
“Most important thing for me is our defense,” Everingham said. “I’m hoping we can shut down their shooters and control the game.”
One of those shooters is sophomore guard Mikayla Duflo. She earned first-team league honors last year, while averaging 10.7 points per game. Duflo set a school record for most three-point goals in a season with 51.
“She is an excellent player. I believe she is one of the better players in the area,” Farmer said.
Everingham said the Hornets are ready to start the season.
I’m absolutely excited to start the season,” Everingham said. “I think the girls are confident. They have been involved in so many things this summer that they are ready to go too.”
As for the Eagles continuing last year’s success, Farmer said it’s one game at a time.
“You know how coaches are. We take one game at a time, one practice at time,” Farmer said. “We try not to look to far into what could happen. Our goal is to win the league and advance as far as we can in the playoffs.
“Right now, though we are focusing on Central Montcalm,” he added.
Other games in the area tonight are Muskegon Reeths-Puffer at Greenville, Belding hosts Wyoming Godwin Heights, Chippewa Hills travels to Montabella and Lakeview visits Evart.