Seniors help put MG girls on right track

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Feb. 5, 2008 - Miller Grove senior guards Adrian Estrada and Jamie Hayes take turns bringing the ball upcourt and directing the Lady Hornets offense.

That's fitting since they have also helped direct the MG girls' success over the last couple of years.

They are the remaining two seniors from the Lady Hornets' two-win season of two years ago. After posting a 7-22 mark last year, Miller Grove finished this season with a 13-16 record.

"They won more games this year than they have for three years combined," said MG head coach Gary Billingsley. "Adrian and Jamie have been a big part of that."

Estrada, he said, has probably been the team's most consistent player. After hurting her ankle toward the end of last season, she rediscovered her aggressiveness earlier this year.

"She's been our best player," Billingsley said. "This year, she's done what we've asked her to do - take care of the basketball and be aggressive. She's one of the few girls we have who can get to the basket off the dribble.

"She hurt her ankle last year, and was tentative earlier this year. But, it changed a lot for her when she realized she could get to the basket and get fouled and score those ways."

He said the Lady Hornets don't have a true point guard, but that Hayes and Estrada both bring the ball downcourt, depending on who has the better defender guarding them.

"They both play pretty good defense and are good at distributing the ball and getting it to other people," Billingsley explained. "Jamie's done a pretty good job of playing within herself and doing what she can do."

Estrada also plays volleyball at Miller Grove, where she says the small-school atmosphere really suits her.

"Everybody knows each other here," said the daughter of Rigoberto and Lidia Estrada. "It's more than a school, it's more like a family. I love being part of it."

She plans on attending Tyler Junior College with an aim at becoming an architect.

Hayes, on the other hand, played just about every sport at Miller Grove as an underclassman, but settled on basketball as a senior.

"Ever since I was little, it didn't matter where a goal was, I'd try to shoot. I've liked it ever since," she said.

Now, though, she does more than just shoot.

"I try to communicate with players and try to get open shots, even if it's not for me," the daughter of Charlotte and Kenneth Hayes explained. "I try to help everybody out."

She plans on attending a junior college in the fall.

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