by Chris Hunt
Hough’s first-year program continues to surprise, holding third place in the I-MECK standings with three regular-season games remaining. The Huskies’ 62-39 victory over West Charlotte on Feb. 1 improved them to 14-7, 7-4, just ahead of Lake Norman and Mooresville, teams with at least five conference losses.
Hough’s playoff fate will be cemented in the next two games. It travels to Mooresville (Friday, Feb. 4) and Lake Norman (Tuesday, Feb. 8) before its season finale against first-place Mallard Creek (Friday, Feb. 11). Odds are, Hough has done enough to secure one of the conference’s five automatic state playoff bids, but claiming a No. 3 seed would be a big accomplishment for a team that starts four freshmen and a sophomore.
“I expected to be competitive this season, and these girls do compete,” said Hough coach Sonja Tate. “Our girls are young, but they are resilient. They bounce back and fight. We are still teaching them the game, but they don’t back down from anyone. In a couple of years, I’ll just have to show up and watch them play, just like (Los Angeles Lakers coach) Phil Jackson.”
Tate said one of the top priorities this season is finding a scorer to complement point guard Anna Diggs, who’s the only Husky averaging double figures at around 16 points per game. Against West Charlotte, she had 29 of the team’s 62 points, sinking eight 3-pointers. Forward Kelsey Dean (13 points) was the only other Husky to reach double figures against the Lions.
“Anna Diggs is carrying our offense,” said Tate. “We need a second scoring threat. We have two or three girls who could do that. If we can get at least 10 points a game from someone else, that would take a lot of pressure off Anna. We just rely on her so much for offense, and we can’t take her out of the game when she needs the rest.”