The Lady Bulldogs earned postseason berths the last couple seasons, only to suffer first round losses.
With a talented trio of returning core players and a supporting cast of young talent, this just might be the year.
Time — and tests— will tell. Decatur, off to a hot 5-1 start, face back-to-back litmus test opponents this week in Region 6-AAA foe Blessed Trinity (Friday) and Wesleyan (Saturday).
“St. Pius may be a preview of how our region will turn out,” said Decatur coach Bill Roberts. “We expect to battle with them for (No.) 1 and 2 (seeds) ... I think both these teams will be measuring sticks in terms of getting to state and how we do at state.”
Again leading the way for the Lady Bulldogs will be dynamic senior wing Jordan Dillard. The Villanova commitment will again be joined in the starting lineup by 6 foot 3 junior post Kristin Munson.
Senior power forward Alana Johnson, who played big minutes last season, completes the squad’s triumvirate of leadership and experience. Outside of junior sharpshooter Kori Anderson, freshmen and sophomores primarily make up the rest of the rotation.
Among the collective of underclassmen at Roberts’ disposal is freshman point guard Jayla Morrow, who’s averaging a solid 11 points per game. Classmate Kayla Thomas has been just as impressive, pulling down nine rebounds per contest — a coup given the fact that she only goes around 5 foot 8.
“We’ve got a good bit of depth,” said Roberts. “Size-wise, we’ve got a good mix ... a lot of young, quick guards.”
Decatur’s make-up allows it to run Roberts’ Carolina freelance offense to great effect most nights. Improving its half-court sets is also high up on the list of priorities, though.
The Lady Bulldogs’ defensive identity will be just as, if not more, dynamic.
“We like to press ... we’ll pick you up full court, drop back and play man,” Roberts said. “We’ll also play some zone.
“Whatever the situation, we’ll make the necessary adjustments.”