Sports Editor

It may not have been pretty but the Moore girls basketball team accomplished a first that has been years in the making.

With their 58-52 win over Yukon last week, the Lions began their season with a victory for the first time in at least five years.

"This is the first time since I have been here that we have started out with a win," said MHS coach Darla Gilmore. "Whether it is pretty or ugly, it's good for us. We didn't play our best, but we played well enough to win."

MHS grabbed a 12-point lead in the first half, only to watch it shrink during the second as they made mistakes and turnovers, which allowed YHS to stay in the game.

But despite the mistakes, Moore was able to hold on for the win behind a strong performance from Rachel Bushong, who had a team high 21 points.

Gilmore knows she can expect many more games such as this. She has a young and inexperienced team on her hands and that could mean a roller coaster ride in 2006.

"My expectations where we would be young," Gilmore said. "I knew we would return only one starter in Tara Flemming. I knew we would have to do some rebuilding."

Despite this being a rebuilding year, Gilmore anticipates her squad will be competitive.

"We will be able to compete," Gilmore said. "I think we have the opportunity to get better. The more they learn about each other and the more work we get in, I think they will do nothing but get better."

The hard work that Gilmore wants to see can be seen in Flemming. But she also expects to see a well rounded and developed game from the senior.

"Tara brings experience to the team," Gilmore said. "She played as a sophomore and started last year. She also brings a lot of intensity and hard work. She has a very competitive attitude. She brings a whole lot and talent. She has not reached her full potential yet. And being a senior she definitely wants to win. Her intensity and competitive nature definitely sets the tone for the team."

Joining Flemming in the starting lineup are Bushong, Susan Rickey and Jazmine Smalls.

But it may be Anesha Mackey that could decide the success of the team. The sophomore is making the transition to point guard this year. And depending on how quickly she picks up the nuances of the spot will determine how good MHS can be.

"She came up last year as freshman and played in the second half of the season," Gilmore said. "Anesha is a very talented kid. She knows the game. She understands the game, but playing point is different from what she has done in past."

Because of this, Gilmore knows Mackey will have her share of mistakes.

"But I understand and expect them from her," Gilmore said. " It's nothing I'm not willing travel that road with her."

The Lions are coming off a 9-14 season. They lost in the first round of the regional tournament for the second straight year.

Despite their youth, Gilmore feels this team has the talent to get over the hump and make it to a second round game But first they have not get their confidence to catch up with their talent level.

"It's just eliminating the mistakes and them realizing they can win," Gilmore said. "Them understanding they can win and beat some people. As a team if we can cut down on the mental mistakes and score, we will come out and win some ball games."

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