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Girls basketball: Capital returns two starters from last season

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Most of Capital High's 2012-13 girls basketball season was forgettable.

Considering the Cougars' were coming off a winning season and had seven seniors returning, one could even say Capital's 7-13 regular season was a disappointment.

That is up until a season-saving Feb. 28 trip to then-defending state Class AAA champion Greenbrier East. The Cougars pulled off the upset, beating the undefeated Spartans 54-45 on their home court.

All of the losses during the season, and later a first round state tournament loss to Spring Valley for a 9-14 finish, ended up mattering little.

Capital had its moment. This season the Cougars are hoping for more of those moments.

"Our record was kind of deceiving last year," sixth-year Coach B.J. Calabrese said. "We played a very tough schedule."

The Cougars will open this season Dec. 3 without seven of last season's top nine players.

"That accounted for about 80 percent of our offense last year," Calabrese said. "We have kind of a youth movement this year."

Not that he sees that as necessarily being a bad thing.

"It's kind of exciting because they are working hard and listening," Calabrese said. "We've got a long way to go but they are enthusiastic."

Only two players who saw any significant action last year return. Those are 5-foor-11 post player Dashia Foster and 5-6 guard India Hairston, both juniors.

"Dashia had double figures in points and rebounds seven or eight times last year," Calabrese said, "and double figures in rebounds in several more."

He says he is pushing Foster to be more aggressive. She will likely be teamed inside with 5-11 sophomore Jayna Hurst, who skipped basketball last season to focus on volleyball.

"She's a very hard worker," Calabrese said. "We've always been kind of guard oriented but I think we will have a real post presence this year."

After strong freshman season, Hairston struggled last season.

"She had a little sophomore slump," Calabrese said. "She is very hard on herself and has a tremendous work ethic."

Hairston will be expected to pick up some of the slack for the offense lost to graduation.

"She has the potential to have a really good year," Calabrese said.

The lone senior on the squad is Jahneece Clements, a 5-5 forward, who is in only her second year of high school ball.

"She did not get much playing time last year," Calabrese said. "But she really came on this summer."

After losing their first four summer league games, the Cougars came back to win their final six. In a fall league they posted a 10-2 mark.

Some players from a quartet of freshmen are expected to fill some of the holes in the lineup with there being a good chance a couple of them will be in the starting lineup when the season opens.

"If we can start out okay then come January and February hopefully we will hit our stride," Calabrese said. "Once you learn to win it becomes contagious."



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