CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coaches dread having to make cuts on their team, and as much as the Hurricane High School girls basketball staff didn't enjoy it this season, they believe a positive can be taken from it.
"We had to cut girls this year but the atmosphere at practice is 10 times more competitive than it has been in the past," Hurricane Coach Natasha Lowe said.
"Last year we had 14 girls and this year we had 26 come out. They are a lot better than they were last year this point. We are trying to change the whole culture down here right now. It's such a strong soccer community."
One player who definitely didn't have to worry about missing the cut is Hurricane standout junior Abby Watson, coming off a sophomore season during which she averaged a double-double with 19 points - a Kanawha Valley-best - and 10 rebounds per game. Watson was honorable mention All-State.
"I bet we haven't had a cut in 10 years," Watson said. "It's nice to see this many girls wanting to play. Hurricane girls haven't been great in many years so we are hoping to turn things around."
Lowe is certainly glad to have Watson returning and leading the way for a Redskin team that finished 6-17 last season.
"It's unbelievable to have her back," Lowe said. "I'd much rather her be on my team than against it. She does everything and has the total game. She is the total package.
"She takes good care of the ball, and shoots good from the floor. She is a leader and attacks the basket better than anybody in the conference I feel like. She's an all-state player."
Watson is proud of the fact she is one of the better players in not only the area but also the state, but is hoping to take her game to the next level.