CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After a near miss last season, the Herbert Hoover girls basketball team is flirting with a winning season - something the program has not seen since 1996.
That team, which included Cary Friel, Missy Anderson, Lori Grindstaff, Jenny Blackwell and Jennifer Kee, went 11-10.
Coached by Jeff Holliday, the Huskies were 8-9 until consecutive wins over George Washington, Man and DuPont gave Hoover an 11-9 record before a sectional championship loss to Ripley ended its season.
"I think the magic number is 12," Huskies Coach Greg Ullman said. "And there are no easy ones left, I know that."
Herbert Hoover is 10-5 employing a platoon system rarely seen.
Ullman often substitutes five for five to keep fresh bodies on the court as the Huskies apply full-court, defensive pressure from start to finish.
"Honestly I'm hoping for 14 or 15 (wins)," Ullman said. "I think if we play well, we can do that."
That would mark a continued, steady increase in wins over the past few seasons.
"It may seem crazy worrying about finishing over .500," Ullman said. "But it's a building block."
One he hopes leads to bigger and better things for the program.
"Obviously it's not where we want to stop," Ullman said. "But we have to get there first."
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MISSY ANDERSON was a senior on that 1996 Herbert Hoover team and averaged 15 points a game while making All-Conference twice.
She is better remembered as Missy Smith, the school's current softball coach and the volleyball coach at George Washington High School.
"I have some of the (Hoover) basketball girls on my softball team," she said. "I like to see all of the sports teams there do well, it is good for everybody."
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ANOTHER NEARBY program is looking to finish with its best season in years.
Valley High sits just across the Kanawha County line in Fayette County and is currently sitting on an 8-3 record, with all three defeats coming to Class AA teams.
The last time the Class A Greyhounds finished above .500 was in 2005 when they were 12-9, which also is the only winning record in recent memory.